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.

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Learn More about Formative Assessment
Building and Sustaining FAME Professional Learning
Video thumbnail for Margaret Heritage: Formative Assessment Process definition and classroom application

How would you define the formative assessment process and describe its application in the classroom?

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How has your work with FAME helped you become a more effective teacher?

Video thumbnail for Interview Question 5 – James Popham (11/1/18)

What do assessment literate individuals need to understand about formative assessment?

Video thumbnail for Interview Question 4– Jill Willis (4/12/19)

What teacher assessment practices are prioritized in an effective Assessment for Learning model, and how do these practices position teachers?

Supporting Online Teaching

View the webinars in two series designed to support Michigan educators in using the formative assessment process during online teaching and learning.

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Interested in becoming a FAME Coach?

Become a FAME Coach and form a Learning Team! The application for the 2024-25 school year (available only to Michigan Educators) is closed, but inquiries are accepted at any time. Click the button below to Contact Us.

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)

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.

For more, visit MDE Formative Assessment
On-going Analysis of Instruction & Learning

Increased Student
Motivation & Learning

Formative Assessment Process Overview Module

Find out more about the formative assessment process! Explore the definition of formative assessment, key features of the process, the three questions that guide it, and the five main components that comprise the formative assessment process.

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FAME Components and Elements At-a-Glance

In this document, FAME Components and Elements and the three questions that guide the formative assessment process are presented in a concise table. A graphic of the formative assessment process is included.

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Overview of the FAME Formative Assessment Process

This resource includes a definition and other information about the formative assessment process, a description of the Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators (FAME) program, and a collection of FAME Learning Points about each Element of the FAME formative assessment process.

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Formative Assessment in the Disciplines

Enjoy a short “conversation” with FAME friend Margaret Heritage about her 2020 book, Formative Assessment in the Disciplines: Framing a Continuum of Professional Learning, available from Harvard Education Press.

  • Margaret chats about why she wrote the book;
  • Reflects on some key take-aways for educators; and
  • Hints at a new project she’s undertaking.

Formative Assessment Process - Discipline Guides

The FAME Program is prepared to support Coaches and Learning Teams within Michigan in use of the formative assessment process. FAME has newly developed Discipline Guides in Early Literacy, Fine Arts, and Science. Discipline Guides for other content areas are in planning stages.

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FAME Research & Development

FAME continually invests in program improvement by studying the program’s effects on teachers and students and developing, evaluating, and refining resources used in the program.

Case Studies

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Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy: A Case Study in How Participation in FAME Cultivates Teacher Leadership

This case study looks at teacher leadership within the FAME Learning Team at the Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy (MGLVA). It describes how the FAME program helps to build the teacher leadership needed for the enactment of the formative assessment process, specifically, and for school improvement more broadly.

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Report Abstracts and Articles

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Blakeslee, Chandler, Roeber, and Kintz – Accentuate the Formative

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

FAME taps in to a network of experts. What are they saying?

Brookhart & Lazarus – Formative Assessment for Students with Disabilities

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. The strategies work for all students, including those who are low-performing, with or without disabilities.

Collins – 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.

Heritage – 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. With this paper, the Council of Chief State School Officers seeks to illuminate and enrich the discussions around student assessment and help lead the development of more effective ways to assess student learning.

Interested in becoming a FAME Coach?

Become a FAME Coach and form a Learning Team! The application for the 2024-25 school year (available only to Michigan Educators) is closed, but inquiries are accepted at any time. Click the button below to Contact Us.

FAME Team Expectations PDF

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