"Regardless of their skill level, students could all participate in formative assessments. Students could also practice constructing meaning without worrying about getting the wrong answer. Instead learners could leave tracks of their thinking so I could adjust my instruction to better meet their needs."
In her books, So What Do They Really Know? and I Read It, But I Don't Get It, Cris Tovani stresses the importance of formative assessment. She questions why teachers and administrators are putting so much stock in summative assessments, like state standardized tests, when these assessments don't help students get smarter in areas where they struggle. Tovani argues that teachers need validation to use the data that matters most for students, like students' everyday work and discussions, to help them determine what steps need to be taken next in students' educations. In the chart below from So What Do They Really Know?, Tovani compares the qualities of formative and summative assessments:
Though both formative and summative assessments need to be in place to collect necessary data about a student's education, there needs to be a much greater stress on formative assessment in the classroom everyday.