Founded with Research in Mind
Craig Jones and Kevin McFarland co-founded Formative while attending graduate school at UCLA. From the beginning, they looked for every opportunity to learn more about how educators were utilizing technology in the classroom.
- The Los Angeles Unified School District granted access to Kevin and Craig to a field study. During this period, they researched the effectiveness of recent technology roll-outs in the district, averaging 4 site visits per week.
- Kevin and Craig attended the 4.0 Schools incubator program (made possible by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) in New Orleans and worked directly with schools to observe what problems educators were trying to solve with technology.
- While at UCLA, Kevin and Craig prototyped a precursor to Formative and partnered with schools across the nation to iterate on potential solutions to the problems they found in their previous research.
Jones and McFarland utilize a research-based approach to accomplish two main goals: 1) To push our understanding of effective pedagogical practices as educators, and 2) to make sure Formative is based on real-world teacher experiences and not only a personal vision of what the future of education could entail.
Other Research Notes:
Craig Jones worked as a Graduate Research Assistant for professors from UCLA Anderson, UC Berkeley Haas and UPenn Wharton to conduct research measuring the effect on which social pressures dissuade positive opportunities for at-risk youth. This research was acknowledged in the paper How Does Peer Pressure Affect Educational Investments?, which received media coverage in the Washington Post, Atlantic, and NPR, amongst others.
Kevin McFarland worked as an undergraduate researcher while attending Lehigh University, focusing on the transportation of heat throughout high-energy plasmas in tokamak fusion reactors. His research was done under the guidance of professors Glenn Batement and Arnold Kritz, to whom he continues to hold immense gratitude for their influence in his analytical approach. You can download a copy of his final report and a report of his research supported by Professor J.D. Callen (University of Wisconsin) at the following links: Testing Models in Simulations of Tokamaks and the Sensitivity to Those Models - McFarland et al and Paleoclassical H-Mode Pedestal Modeling - Callen et al.
Formative understands the necessity of staying independent in research of its own platform. We chose our specific pedagogy for formative teaching in large part due to prior research on Formative Assessment and Feedback.
According to the Education Endowment Foundation, speeding up the feedback loop between teachers and students is one of the lowest cost, highest-impact ways to help student learning. See research here.
Additionally, the studies below were performed completely by 3rd party research organizations with the intent to remove any bias or influence. In these studies, Formative team members did not conduct surveys, analyze responses, or write the results.
American Institutes for Research
Technology‐Mediated Formative Assessment:
A Study of Educators' Self‐Reported Practice
A majority of teachers believe that formative assessment data positively impacts student outcomes
First and foremost, special thanks go out to the Jefferson Education Accelerator (JEA) for their work with us the past few years and to the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation for making this independent study possible. We had been wanting to find a partner to research formative assessment practices and they were instrumental in getting the American Institute of Research (AIR) on the job. This is the second independent research conducted on behalf of Formative, and you can find the announcement from JEA HERE.
Highlights of the Results
The first half of AIR’s study focused on teachers’ perceptions of Formative the platform (goformative.com). Here are some highlights of their responses.