Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara Hill

Second Advisor

Dr. Trevor Turner

Third Advisor

Dr. Darrell Groves


This study examines the relationship between the use of formative assessment in the middle school classroom and select causal factors. For the purpose of this study, the definition of formative assessments is that proposed by Heritage, Kim, Vendliski, and Herman as, “A systematic process to continuously gather evidence and provide feedback about learning while instruction is under way” (2009, p. 1). Factors affecting the use of formative assessments explored in this study include leadership behaviors, professional development, the influence of instructional coaches, and aspects of teacher demographics. Through a mixed-method design, utilizing both a quantitative and qualitative approach, data were collected and analyzed.

The quantitative data showed no any significant relationship between formative assessment and the independent variables of leadership behavior, professional development, and the influence of instructional coaches. The data showed that in the area of teacher demographics, there did exist a significant relationship between the grade level taught and the use of formative assessments, suggesting that teachers in the highest grade level (grade 8) had the highest frequency of use.

Data collected through the qualitative research revealed that the school in which more frequent professional development training was provided by the school’s instructional coach in the area of formative assessment strategies, the frequency of their use was more prevalent. The findings suggest that the influence of the instructional coach is a factor in teachers’ use of formative assessment.

Results from this study add to the body of evidence relating to use of formative assessment. As a result of the findings, the position of instructional coach and how they impact student achievement is recommended for further study.