Secondary school teachers' use of online formative assessment during COVID-19 lockdown: Experiences and lessons learned

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Introduction: During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, teachers had to shift their teaching and assessment to online. Formative assessment (FA) can help teachers to engage, guide and monitor students' (online) learning. However, more knowledge is needed of how teachers could use the full FA process online. Methods: In this study data from 50 secondary school teachers, who taught different grade levels and subjects and joined a FA learning network that started before and continued during the lockdown, were collected. The study investigates how they used online FA practices differently than face-to-face FA, what challenges and opportunities they experienced in online FA and what lessons they learned and intended to keep. This mixed methods study used data from a questionnaire, interviews and webinars that were segmented, coded and analysed. Results: Results showed that many teachers implemented new FA strategies and adopted, more often than in their face-to-face practice, all the five phases of the FA process in an aligned matter in online FA. Teachers indicated opportunities in stimulating student engagement and guiding and monitoring student learning more at an individual level in the online FA process, but also experienced challenges, mainly in lack of interaction online. Discussion: The sudden and necessary shift to online FA, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, challenged teachers to more fundamentally reconsider their assessment practices and assumptions. Teachers intended to make use of these learned lessons to improve their future (blended) FA practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1465-1481
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number5
Early online date5 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • formative assessment cycle
  • online formative assessment
  • online learning
  • secondary education
  • teacher development


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