Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Salina Shrofel


A school district located in the southeastern United States uses benchmark tests as formative assessment to provide teachers with data to differentiate their instruction to meet the individual needs of students in their classrooms. Despite this effort, student achievement in mathematics in this school district has not improved. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of how middle-grade mathematics teachers used the benchmark results as formative data to guide instruction and meet student needs. The conceptual framework that grounded this study was the model of formative assessment developed by Black and Wiliam. For this basic qualitative study, 9 middle-grade mathematics teachers were interviewed to learn how they use formative data to guide instruction, challenges they encountered, and supports needed for using formative data to guide classroom practice and meet student needs. Interview data were analyzed using a 2-step process of in vivo coding followed by axial coding to identify themes. Results from the study revealed that formative data are not being used effectively to plan for and guide classroom practices to meet the individual needs of students. Participants perceived that more professional development and planning time are needed. This basic qualitative research study may lead to positive social change when teachers improve their use of formative assessment to differentiate instruction that meets the needs of all students in the mathematics classroom.