In a related post, Do Nothing Data, I make the argument that oftentimes the best types of formatives are the ones that already exist--that we already planned to use. By looking at existing curriculum resources and aligning their pacing close enough, teams can determine formative assessments from within their already planned lessons instead of adding on something.
In many ways, this type of planning aligns closely with the work of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe in their classic, Understanding by Design. By starting the PLC conversation with clarity around what students need to know, what they will demonstrate, and how they will receive support--teams can better anticipate where struggles may occur and proactively plan strategies to support their learners.
One of the snags of creating formative assessments is that sometimes we forget to choose something that we'll actually respond to! To help with this, I created this simple formative planning tool that teams can use to map out specific checks for understanding/formative assessments that will help them build towards a unit assessment (or summative).
And here's an example in black and white:
Teams can print and use these in their planning of formative assessments or recreate themselves on chart paper. The key is that we give ourselves time to think about the purposeful checks we want to see as we build up to a summative--and--that we plan to respond in some way to the data we gather.
Download your PDF (includes 3 graphics) to use with your teams.