What is Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators (FAME)?

FAME is an exciting professional learning initiative sponsored by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) that promotes teacher collaboration and planning for effective formative assessment practice. A cadre of Michigan educators serves as coaches for site-based learning teams of teachers and administrators in Michigan schools.

Learn More about FAME Learn More about Formative Assessment
Video thumbnail for Margaret Heritage Video:  Learning Question #2

What impact would formative assessment best practices have on student learning if they were used widely?

Interested in becoming a FAME Coach?

Become a FAME Coach and build a learning team. The new Coach application (open only to Michigan educators) is posted in March/April each year, but inquiries are accepted at any time.

FAME Team Expectations PDF

Get Started!

Already a FAME coach? Log in here

What is the Formative Assessment Process?

Formative assessment is a planned, ongoing process used by all students and teachers during learning and teaching to elicit and use evidence of student learning to improve student understanding of intended disciplinary learning outcomes and support students to become more self-directed learners.
(CCSSO FAST SCASS Austin, Texas June 2017)

Formative Assessment Process Overview Module

FAME’s components and elements are framed by three guiding questions:*

*(Sadler, 1989; Hattie and Timperley, 2007; Gotwals et al., forthcoming)

Where Are We Going?

PLANNING is a complex process that enables a teacher to plan student engagement with content that promotes student learning. LEARNING TARGETS written in student-friendly language are used to help students understand what they are learning, how to reach the target, and what success looks like once the target is reached.

What Does The Student Understand Now?

Student EVIDENCE OF LEARNING is used to help teachers know where students are in relation to the learning targets, help students see what they know and need to work on, and help teachers and students make decisions about where to go next with the learning.

How Do We Get To The Learning Target?

FORMATIVE FEEDBACK, verbal and written, helps students understand how close they are to the learning targets and what they can do to move closer. INSTRUCTIONAL DECISIONS, as part of the formative assessment process, are made by teachers to alter or verify instruction based on student evidence and their progression toward learning targets. In addition, students make learning decisions in the formative assessment process when they use formative feedback about their progress to make adjustments in their learning and set goals to reach the learning target.

Quick Guide to FAME Components and Elements For more, visit MDE Formative Assessment
On-going Analysis of Instruction & Learning

Increased Student
Motivation & Learning

Spotlight on FAME

Accentuate the Formative

This article showcases Michigan teachers using rubrics and video to improve their practices.


2015-16 FAME Development and Evaluation Activities

This summary of the 2015-16 FAME Research and Development activities includes information about FAME outcomes and resources created by the team.


2014-15 FAME Development and Evaluation Activities

The FAME Research and Development Team describes findings related to FAME participant needs, ways in which the FAME resources are used, and additional resources to enhance the program.


FAME Case Studies

The FAME Research and Development Team gathers information on FAME approaches with the potential to be replicated in districts across Michigan. Explore these success stories!

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The Kingsley Story: A Principal Embraces Instructional Leadership

A new principal addresses achievement gaps by using state and local assessment data to draft a school improvement plan that included Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators (FAME).

  • Principal leadership and long-term commitment
  • Integration of FAME into additional strategies
Read More
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There’s Always Something Good Happening in Corunna

A district-wide initiative to provide and support professional development for teachers includes encouragement to participate in the FAME professional learning model on formative assessment. (Includes video)

  • Intentional integration of formative assessment
  • “All-in” district-wide approach
Read More
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The Muskegon Story: Building Trust, Raising Expectations

Working together, an entire county uses the FAME professional learning model to learn and apply formative assessment practices in the classroom.

  • County-wide implementation
  • Sustained success due to administrator commitment
Read More
MDE is part of a state collaborative on Formative Assessment


Formative Assessment for Students with Disabilites

This paper from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) discusses formative assessment practices for students with disabilities, illustrated with text and video examples.


Reaping the Benefits of Deep Formative Assessment: Lessons From Around the World

New insights are emerging about the critical role students play in maximizing the effectiveness of formative assessment practices; about how to help teachers develop and hone their formative assessment skills; and about how education policy can be used more effectively to deepen and scale up the use of classroom-based assessment practices.


Formative Assessment and Next-Generation Assessment Systems: Are We Losing an Opportunity?

All too often, the term “formative assessment” conjures images of quizzes and tests, but formative assessment is a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning.


Interested in becoming a FAME Coach?

Become a FAME Coach and build a learning team. The new Coach application (open only to Michigan educators) is posted in March/April each year, but inquiries are accepted at any time.

FAME Team Expectations PDF

Get Started!

Already a FAME coach? Log in here