Formative Assessment Grants

from Technology & Learning

How to tap into new federal dollars.

Formative assessment is becoming a significant factor in the process of funding education programs at all levels of government.

In 2006 the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and other federal agencies launched the Web site, providing assessment reports on federal programs. Each program is reviewed using the program assessment rating tool (PART). Legislators draw on information from PART to determine funding allocations for government programs. Clearly assessment is a critical factor in education programs and the grants that support these programs. Some key elements you can implement to secure greater funds for your education formative assessment initiatives involve:

  • Developing a working knowledge of the types of assessment in education programs.
  • Conducting a needs analysis of assessment challenges in your organization.
  • Establishing the justification and expected outcomes of the assessment project. If you want your assessment project to get funded, then you need to demonstrate that you have the ability to measure your results.
  • Planning and determining the resources that the assessment project will need.
  • Designing and creating a database to facilitate the collection, storing, and retrieving of data. This enables you to write, implement, and to report your assessment project.
  • Forming a "think tank." Make sure you invite key personnel from each department and education leaders from your schools and district. Keep this group informed by sending monthly e-mails on various grant opportunities and information.
  • Bookmarking the Web site and using the evaluation reports to better understand what is working and why. This will provide important information in selecting the grant's purpose, goals, and objectives.
  • Considering electronic formative assessment as an essential component of a high-performing school.
  • Needs/baseline assessment
  • Formative assessment
  • Summative assessment
  • Philosophy and pedagogy currently implemented in district
  • Leadership knowledge and support and responsibility
  • Teacher knowledge and support and professional development needs
  • The students' role
  • Acquire knowledge of scientificbased research on education assessment.
  • Enlist executive sponsorship to support your assessment project through education leadership involvement.

Paula Love is president of Quarter Source (, a funding consulting firm for education leaders.