Exploring formative assessment in primary school classrooms: Developing a framework of actions and strategies

  • Panayiotis Antoniou
  • Mary James


The importance of formative assessment in facilitating student learning has been well established in the literature. However, defining and implementing formative assessment in classroom settings is a rather complicated task. The aim of this study is to explore formative assessment, as implemented in primary classrooms in Cyprus, and develop a framework of action for analysing and understanding formative assessment processes. The research was qualitative, interpretive, collaborative, and guided by the ethics of care. Four primary school teachers of the third and fourth grade participated in the study. The teachers differ in their teaching experience and gender. Data collection was based on non-participant classroom observations, teachers’ interviews and documentary analysis of children’s work for written feedback. The analysis of the data was carried out using the constant comparative method and revealed five distinctive processes of formative assessment: (a) Articulation/communication of expectancies and success criteria, (b) Elicitation and collection of information, (c) Interpretation of information/judgement, (d) Providing feedback, and (e) Taking action/regulation of learning. The analysis also pointed the confusions arising from the various interpretations of the concept and the difficulties in implementing effectively formative assessment in classroom settings. Implications of the findings for policy and practice are drawn and suggestions for further research are finally provided.


Pupil assessment Formative assessment Assessment for learning Assessment framework Assessment practices 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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