School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Gail L. Collins


Assessment for Learning, Assessment of Learning, Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment Practices, FormativeFfeedback


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Other Education


The purpose of this study was to understand middle school teachers’ implementation of formative assessment (FA) practices. The study used a transcendental phenomenological design to understand these practices, centering on the teachers’ lived experiences with the phenomenon of FA practices. Four essential questions guided the research and concentrated on middle school teachers’ implementation of FA practices, perceptions about FA theory and its practices, the obstacles hindering implementation, and beneficial resources and professional learning experiences. The study focused on the lone concept of FA practices and the shared lived experiences that shaped meaning for the participants, 17 middle school teachers as co-researchers from four schools. Data were collected through a screening protocol, semi-structured individual interviews, a focus group, and school- and district-generated site documents. The data were collected, organized, analyzed, and interpreted based on Moustakas’s (1994) transcendental phenomenology model and a theoretical framework based on formative assessment theory (FAT) (Black & William, 1998a, 1998b; Bloom, 1968; Marzano, 2010; Sadler, 1989; Scriven, 1967), social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1962, 1978), and experiential learning (Dewey, 1897). Four themes were identified. First, the study found that middle school teachers’ implementation of FA practices is evolving with new experiences and social-cultural interactions. Second, teachers desire to know their students academically, socially, and emotionally through FA practices. Third, they need the development of common language and shared expectations for FA practices. Fourth, middle school teachers want leaders to collect their feedback and provide differentiated professional learning.