Catch-22: Assessing Ontario's Proposed Formative Assessment Policy Within Ontario's Student Achievement Framework
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This paper examines the efficacy of Ontario’s proposed formative assessment policy in the context of Ontario’s student achievement framework which is founded upon large scale assessments for accountability. This paper comprises an extensive review of the literature on formative assessment policy, drawing heavily on the British experience, as well as an examination of the empirical evidence conducted on formative assessment in the ‘real’ classroom. This paper argues that the evidence clearly indicates that policies which are focused on measuring student achievement through large scale testing for accountability inhibit the practice of formative assessment in the classroom. It is also suggested that policies focused on increasing student scores on large scale assessments have not been as successful as anticipated thereby increasing the visibility and promotion of formative assessment in recent policy texts. Highlighting the similarities between student achievement frameworks found in Britain and that of Ontario this paper suggests that Ontario’s student achievement framework does not fully address the complexity of formative assessment thereby preventing discussion on current education policies that may inhibit the successful implementation of the proposed formative assessment policy. Formative assessment and accountability is addressed throughout the paper.