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RUNNING HEAD: Literature Review – Domain E (Standard 5) 1

Literature Review – Domain E (Standard 5)

Karen Bowler

National University


Standard 5 of the Nevada Teacher Instructional Practice Standards pertains to integrating

assessment into instruction. This literature review will summarize an article discussing what

formative assessment is, why it matters, and how teachers can integrate assessment into their

instruction. This review will be included as an artifact for evidence of Domain E (Standard 5) in

my Professional Development Quest Portfolio (PDQP).


Literature Review – Domain E (Standard 5)

While there are different types of assessment, formative assessment is intended to alter or

correct both teaching and learning. It serves as a “check-in” to determine the best practices and

strategies to improve performance with the aim of helping students become better learners and

aid teachers in improving their instruction. The learning process involves the use of formative

assessment, usually on a daily basis, as a means of guiding students’ learning forward toward the

expected outcomes.

Teaching and learning are process, and imperfect processes at that. There is no wizardry

that can be performed that will assure that students will learn every concept, in every lesson for

every class. Sometimes fabulous teachers fail to convey an idea effectively to a class of students.

Sometimes amazing students do not master the concepts presented, and this could be due to a

number of reasons. Regardless, because teaching and learning are dependent on interactions

between human beings, we cannot just assume that the learning target has been reached without

some type of proof. This is where assessment comes into play. It can provide a means for us to

know if learning is successfully taking place by providing evidence, which we can evaluate.

When formative assessment is utilized in the classroom, teachers are able to present

targeted instruction focusing on the immediate needs of their students. Formative assessment

allows teachers to determine if students are achieving mastery without having to wait until the

next quiz or exam. The work students demonstrate provides evidence of whether the objectives

for the day’s lesson have been achieved.

According to Saaris (2017), “The goal of formative assessment is to understand what

students have already mastered and where they are struggling”. Knowing this information,

teachers can take the time to highlight the concepts that students need additional help with rather

than wasting time on material that students already know. Another benefit of formative

assessment is that it gives teachers an idea of how students are thinking about and processing the

material. All of the information provided through formative assessment gives important insights

that help direct teacher’s instruction.

So, how can teachers integrate formative assessment into their teaching? In her article,

Saair (2017) suggests three ways.

1. Strategic multiple-choice questions – Multiple-choice questions are a method of

formative assessment that can illuminate students’ knowledge and misconceptions. “For

a question to truly reveal how students are thinking, however, teachers need to have a

good idea of all the possible ways a student might misunderstand the material and

incorporate those as tempting (but ultimately incorrect) responses” (Saair, 2017). Posing

these types of questions at the end of a lesson can provide evidence of whether students

are grasping the concepts being taught, and if not, uncover possible reasons for the


2. Writing extensively – Assessment can also be integrated into instruction through writing

where students can elaborate their ideas allowing teachers to see how they are

constructing knowledge. Both short-answer questions and assigned annotations can be

utilized for this type of assessment, and student responses can be quickly scanned by the

teacher to determine if students are understanding the material they are presenting.

3. Cold calling – Asking strategic questions in class will also allow teachers to get a

snapshot of student learning. To be effective, however, open-ended questions that

require students to explain a concept rather than just recall material should be used.

When using this form of assessment, it is important that teachers call on students

randomly so to provide an accurate assessment of the group.

As stated by Saair (2017), “Formative instruction depends on the willingness of students

and teachers to take action based on the information from their assessment”. It is imperative

that teachers take the time to provide feedback to students to help them get back on course if they

are not successfully meeting the learning objectives. It is also important that teachers recognize

student performance as evaluation of their instruction and make changes accordingly to better

meet the needs of their students.



Saaris, N. (2017). Formative Assessment: Tracking Student Learning in Real Time. Actively

Learn. Retrieved from