A growing number of studies highlight the potential of formative assessment to improve students’ achievement and self-regulated learning. Formative assessment helps collect feedback for the students to become active, independent, better learners, and feedback for the teachers to adapt their teaching to every student’s needs. New technologies offer the possibility to enhance the scope and effective employment of formative assessment practices in schools. However, little is known about what interventions effectively increase whole schools’ systematic and purposeful adoption of digital formative assessment by school leaders, teachers and students.
The Assess@Learning (A@L) randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluates a newly developed online toolkit (A@L Systemic Toolkit) aimed at increasing lower secondary education schools’ readiness to implement digital formative assessment. The trial has been pre-registered in the AEA-RCT registry. The trial was run in five European Union Member States: Estonia, Finland, Greece, Portugal and Spain and involved 208 recruited schools, 846 teachers and 2,517 students in secondary education schools. Assess@Learning is funded under the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union (link: https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa.eu/).
The RCT shows that the A@L toolkit increased teachers’ objective knowledge about formative assessment: teachers in the treatment group show higher capacity of distinguishing formative from summative assessment practices. A modest effect of the A@L toolkit on teachers’ awareness about (digital) formative assessment is also found. These effects appear to be stronger for teachers in schools with lower baseline levels of diffusion of FA practice and, particularly, the effect on awareness seem to be concentrated among those teachers who start with low levels of awareness.No effects are detected on teachers’ actual use of DFA practices, nor did the A@L Toolkit had any effect on school leaders or students.