Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Billie Andersson


The purpose of this study was to explore the value teachers give to the process of formative assessment and their experience with the process. This study was conducted at a rural middle school where formative assessment was not effectively used as reflected in state assessment data. The social constructivist framework, which views students as active participants in their own learning, guided this study. Research questions focused on how the teachers participated in and felt about the process of formative assessment. Eleven teachers, all of whom use formative assessment as part of their practice, were purposefully selected for this study. Data sources, including semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and a questionnaire, provided data about teachers' perceptions of and experiences with the formative assessment process. Data analysis in the form of manual hierarchical coding, including open and axial levels, was performed to identify themes. The key findings were that the formative assessment process was viewed as important, that the effective use of formative assessment varied, depending on whether a skill was being taught or information was being disseminated, and that the refined and deliberate use of the formative assessment process is needed in order to improve student learning. This study and the associated project, a professional learning experience aimed at improving teachers' abilities to use formative assessment, may provide an approach to addressing the individual learning needs of students and, thereby, narrow academic achievement gaps among various subgroups to promote positive social change.