We have argued that a formative assessment system requires attention to feed-up, feedback, and feed-forward. Together with a thorough checking-for-understanding process, these components guide teachers' actions so student work is used to inform the learner and the ensuing instruction that the learner receives.
This system of formative assessment works best when it is nested within an instructional framework that allows for differentiation and response to student needs (Fisher & Frey, 2007b). In the absence of such a framework, teachers struggle to find the time to address students' needs. Just think about teachers who use lecturing as the primary structure for imparting information. These teachers talk for the majority of the instructional time, and even when they set a purpose, check for understanding, and provide students with feedback, there really isn't any way to feed-forward other than deliver the lecture to the whole class again. This structure prevents teachers from implementing a formative assessment system because it is unlikely that the entire class needs to hear the information again. Invariably, some students will disengage and might even get in trouble, academically and behaviorally.