The article presents the results of a three-year research project aimed at investigating the effectiveness of formative assessment practices in classroom on middle school students’ reading and mathematical abilities. In line with the debate on formative assessment, practices and indicators of the skills to be measured were identified: they derived from the recent most acknowledged construct. A quasi-experimental research design was planned: a group of lower secondary school teachers of the same class experimented with formative as¬sessment practices with their students while supported with in-service training activities followed by the researchers. Pupils of the parallel classes belonging to the same institution constituted the control group. A measurement of math and comprehension abilities was conducted at the beginning and the end of the experimentation through standardized tests; students’ perceptions of the teach¬ing-learning process were collected through administering a questionnaire. Data show significant differences between the two groups’ learning achieve¬ments, especially in math abilities. The most comprehensive interpretation of these results leads us to consider the explorative feature of the study: indeed, several factors have affected the internal validity of the experimentation. At the same time, the research’s design limits offer a relevant opportunity to reflect on the need to find a more precise definition of the hypothesis for future studies.
Keywords: successful teaching, formative assessment practices, students’ achievements, lower secondary school, quasi-experimental research design.