We know formative assessment practice is working when...

Students Can Say: I know how I am doing on a daily basis.
Students Can Say: I know how to evaluate the quality of my work.
Students Can Say: I know how to make decisions about my learning.
Students Can Say: I know that my teacher
and I share a common
Students Can Say: I know I am part of a safe community where I can support and learn from my teacher and classmates.
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Teachers Can Say: I know where each individual student is regarding progress toward the learning goal.
Teachers Can Say: I know how to respond to evidence of student learning to help students take next steps.
Teachers Can Say: I can provide feedback
that helps move
students forward.
Teachers Can Say: I know formative assessment is an active, daily, ongoing process.
Teachers Can Say: I know how to use formative assessment to create personalized experiences for my students.


The Result

Students become active agents in their educational process as they learn how to use feedback, set goals, monitor their own progress and select strategies that move their own learning forward. According to an OECD research report, formative assessment practice has been shown to be highly effective in raising the level of student attainment, increasing equity of student outcomes and improving students’ ability to learn. Further, schools which use formative assessment show not only general gains in academic achievement, but also particularly high gains for previously underachieving students.

Teachers help students accomplish the above and move learning forward. According to the same OECD report, teachers who engage in formative assessment report a changed classroom culture, clarity regarding goals, varied instructional practices and more positive interactions with students.

Just as educators have long supported students in “learning how to learn,” we seek to help teachers and students in “knowing how to know.”

the partners

How I Know is an initiative of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, in partnership with Education First, Getting Smart, WestEd and Brookhart Enterprises, LLC.

This multi-year initiative follows the journey of three districts and over 60 educators as they seek to design a meaningful formative instructional practice in their classrooms.

learn more about the initiative
  • Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
  • Education First
  • Getting Smart
  • WestEd

the two-year pilot

Meet The Districts

Districts participating in How I Know have committed to a two-year pilot initiative, part of which includes membership in a professional learning network with other districts. This network aims to identify, scale and share successful approaches to improve formative assessment practice in classrooms.

Austin Independent School District

To reinvent the urban school experience, the district is shifting practices to support our goal for all teachers to become designers of engaging, student-centric teaching and learning that embeds formative assessment practice at the core of instruction. This is important to us because in Austin, All Means All. All students deserve the opportunity to develop their unique gifts and talents and all teachers deserve the opportunity to bring their creativity and joy to the learning experience.

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Dallas Indpendant School District

Dallas ISD is committed to leading educators towards the development of a common definition of formative assessment and towards a collective understanding that, when implemented with fidelity, students are at the center of the learning.

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Tulsa Public Schools

At TPS, our goal is to build a student-centered community in which all students are learners, contributors and designers who grapple joyfully with complex ideas, texts and tasks that prepare them for the greatest success in college, career and life. Effective, aligned assessment practices will help students, teachers, and leaders drive us to our goal.

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