A2L Project Website

Assessing-to-Learn (A2L) was a four-year research project on the use of “continuous formative assessment” in the high-school physics classroom, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (grant IMD-9730438). We have been developing a set of research-based pedagogic practices at the university level for many years, and A2L studied how these practies can be employed for high school physics instruction.

This website provides public access to a large library of “items” — questions and problems for instructional classroom use — intended for use with continuous formative assessment. Many of these were carefully developed and tested for high school use as part of the project; others are ones we’ve used in university-level courses. You can find the items in the Items Library. Many have associated “teacher aids”, written to help instructors make effective use of them in the classroom.

This site also provides papers that explain the pedagogic philosophy behind the approach and describe how continuous formative assessment can be implemented in the classroom. See About A2L for more.

While it is possible to use many of the A2L items as a “quiz” or “ConcepTest” (cf. Eric Mazur, Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual, the intent behind the items is very different. They are designed to reveal what students do not know, rather than what they do know. This is the essence of formative assessment. For most effective use, items should be used in a low stakes environment where students are willing to explain their thinking and reasoning. The Using Items page decribes how to do this effectively.

→ You can use the links at the left to explore this site, or go directly to the library of questions.