Formative assessment: how useful is it, who does it help the most, and how can we improve it further?

Explore the impact of expanding formative assessment

Team Members :  David Hope, Peter Moles, Susan Rhind, Avril Dewar, Helen Cameron


Formative assessment is often considered to support effective learning, but evidence suggests that under some circumstances it can lead to poorer outcomes. With the growing emphasis on formative assessment at the University of Edinburgh, there is a need and a rare opportunity to evaluate this thoroughly. In this project we will explore the impact of expanding formative assessment. We will model performance change, evaluate whether weaker students are well-served by formative assessment, and explore with staff and students how to develop formative assessment effectively using questionnaires and a series of semi-structured interviews. Our team – a mixture of experienced HEA fellows and postgraduate researchers – is drawn from three schools so the project will capture a variety of approaches to formative assessment and create outcomes more likely to be transferable to a range of contexts. We will use our results to produce guidance on how to improve formative assessment and disseminate findings beyond the university.

Final report

Download the final report now (PDF)

Other project outcomes

Association for Medical Eduction in Europe (AMMEE) Conference 2018 poster (PPT)