Formative Assessment Lessons (FALs)


Formative Assessment Lessons are lessons that help uncover student's understanding, and then develop that understanding. Some FALs are designed to help connect ideas, important concepts, and diverse mathematical knowledge. Others are designed to help students apply their math knowledge to novel problems. 

The goal of the lesson is to make evident what students know and understand, not the right answer. These lessons are really about the process of doing mathematics, and thus are good windows into your students' enactment of the Math Practices.

Formative Assessment Lessons often include many or all of these steps:

  1. Pre-Assessment: often done individually 
    Teacher reviews and decides on feedback questions.
  2. Lesson: usually collaborative
    Teacher uses feedback questions to probe and push student thinking.
  3. Whole Class Summative Discussion
    Teacher uses student work and ideas to highlight and synthesize big ideas. 
  4. Post-assessment: often done individually
    Students and teacher get feedback on their understanding by completing a task similar to pre-assessment.

Find more about elementary FALs on a site maintained by Debbie Wagoner.
​Find more about secondary FALs on the Mathematics Assessment Project website.

This page was last updated on June 21, 2023