From the State Superintendent's Vision for 21st Century Assessment (brochure):

Formative assessment includes:
  • questioning
  • discussions
  • learning activities
  • feedback
  • conferences
  • interviews
  • student reflections
Formative assessment:
  • occurs during instruction
  • is not graded
  • is process oriented
  • provides descriptive feedback
  • is continuous
Formative assessment occurs at the classroom level and happens minute-to-minute in short cycles. Formative assessment is not graded or used in accountability systems.  The feedback involved in formative assessment is descriptive in nature so that students know what they need to do next to improve learning.

Classroom assessments should promote learning (formative) and help determine how much learning has taken place at a particular point in time (summative).  Both ways of assessing are essential to student learning and the information gathered is used to inform students, teachers, and parents.

Arts Educators should be using formative assessment in an on-going basis with their students.  Formative assessment will be a major component with the implementation of the new Essential Standards in Arts Education (currently under development and anticipated to be approved by the NC State Board of Education in Summer 2010).  Information about formative assessment and tools for teachers to use will be included as part of a tool kit to assist with implementation of the Essential Standards (implementation year, according to the current SBE timeline, is 2012-13).