Formative assessment requires a specific culture in the classroom.
For example, I tell my students that my job is to help them constantly improve.
I remind them that in this formative assessment class, I am a coach. I will look for what they are doing well but, more importantly, I will look for how they can improve. An athletic coach constantly watches his/her players and constantly gives suggestions for improvement.
In addition, I will only ask then to improve when they can be given a new strategy or approach that will enable them to overcome their learning gap.
I let them know that when I call on them, I will give them feedback. If they want to become better in the class, they will offer their answer no matter how wrong they think their answer is. Once I hear their answer, I can help them to become better. If they keep quiet, I cannot help them. My feedback will focus not on what they did wrong but on how to do it correctly.
I remind them that they will be constantly assessed and be constantly given strategies. For example, in the pre-writing phase of their essays, there will be seven assessments. Each formative assessment helps ensure they are on a success track.
I tell them that we build on successes. We do something well, then we build on that successful learning to reach the next learning goal. Students feel very different in a class where they know that the teacher and their fellow students are there to help them improve in their learning.
Finally, I inform them that they are expected to do well in the course since we build on and reward successes.
What is your class culture?
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.
Also, my book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.