Educator Effectiveness

Formative Instructional Practices

The research is clear—using high-impact formative instructional practices (FIP) in the classroom translates to great gains in student achievement.

The research-grounded practices known as formative assessment or assessment for learning have been around for more than a decade. While the practices are not new, the term formative instructional practices (FIP) is. The term was coined by Battelle for Kids to emphasize the interaction between curriculum, instruction, and assessment that we have found to be essential to the success of these practices. When implemented with fidelity, FIP equips educators to successfully adapt to changes in the education environment.

Common Core

To effectively implement new learning standards, educators need to be able to do two things; they need to have a thorough understanding of the standards for their students, and they need to know how to teach those skills. FIP helps educators develop a deep understanding of learning standards by teaching them how to break them down into learning targets. These targets help teachers design learning progressions to guide student learning and to align classroom assessments and feedback to those targets.

Measuring Student Growth

Imperative to the success of all educators, from 1st grade physical education teachers to AP math teachers, is knowing: where their students are in their learning; how their students are progressing in the learning, in real time; and how to accurately develop measures of student growth. Formative instructional practices help educators to deconstruct standards and create learning targets so they can better understand how to create or select sound assessments that help them guide learning and achieve academic growth for their students.

Educator Effectiveness

With new evaluation systems and revised guidelines for pre-service preparation surfacing all across the country, educator effectiveness is in our consciousness more than ever. Formative instructional practices are strongly aligned to educator standards and standards for pre-service preparation. So, when educators are learning these practices, they are developing the skills that will help them succeed in the areas of highest impact.

Watch the Why FIP? video in the sidebar to learn more.

There are four core components of FIP: creating clear learning targets, collecting and documenting evidence of student learning, providing effective feedback, and student ownership of learning. Click on the images below to learn more about the core components and how they support all members of the school community.

Click the icons below to learn more about the power of FIP.

A formative learning system ensures that all stakeholders can use clear learning targets:

  • Leaders model the use of learning targets by setting adult learning targets for teachers and coaches.
  • Coaches ensure that teachers understand the learning targets for formative
    instructional practices.
  • Teachers ensure their own understanding of the intended learning by deconstructing the new standards and creating student-friendly learning targets with colleagues.
  • Students (and adult learners) can articulate what the learning target is and what they need to do to meet or master it.

A formative learning system ensures that all stakeholders collect evidence of learning: 

  • Leaders monitor adult and student learning throughout the year, making sure that all learners are making progress.
  • Coaches work with teachers to collect and document evidence of their own learning, and that of their students.
  • Teachers collect evidence that is an accurate reflection of learning—this starts with making sure that the assessment methods being used are a “good/strong match” for the type of learning targets being assessed.
  • Students (and adult learners) track their own learning by target.

A formative learning system ensures that all stakeholders use effective feedback to move learning forward:

  • Leaders provide staff with effective feedback about the formative instructional practices they are working to implement.
  • Coaches provide teachers with effective feedback about their use of formative
    instructional practices.
  • Teachers provide students with effective feedback—success and/or intervention feedback.
  • Students (and adult learners) act upon the effective feedback given to them by others.

A formative learning system ensures that all stakeholders help students (and adult learners) take ownership of their learning:

  • Leaders support teacher self-assessment, peer feedback, and self-reflection by fostering an environment where the teachers own their learning and trust one another.
  • Coaches encourage and facilitate teacher self-assessment, peer feedback, and self-reflection around teacher practice.
  • Teachers prepare students to analyze their own work and the work of their peers—this includes the use of rubrics and examples of strong and weak work.
  • Students (and adult learners) track, reflect on, and share their learning with others.

Battelle for Kids collaborated with the experts at Pearson Assessment Training Institute to develop professional learning resources to build aptitude for using formative instructional practices. These resources are designed to leverage a blend of adult learning methods which result in an understanding of this approach to instruction, and help develop strategies for the effective use of these practices in schools.

Watch the FIP Your School video in the sidebar to learn how all of these elements work together in FIP Your School.

Interested in learning more about how you can be part of the FIP Your School professional learning experience? Contact us at or 1-866-543-7555.

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