The formative-assessment process can greatly improve student learning if teachers clearly understand it, writes the author of an upcoming ASCD book on the subject. W. James Popham explains in this article that testing is only one part of the process, which also should include decisions on how and what to test and whether adjustments to the curriculum should be made based on the findings. By misconstruing formative assessments as a particular type of test, teachers may diminish the potential impact of the process, he writes.

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