Archive for March 2011

From our class discussion, I concluded that summative assessment is more encountered in formative assessment especially in undergraduate education. Also, there was some sort of consensus the formative is better to achieve learning outcomes. Nevertheless, I believe that a successful education depends on balancing both forms of assessments. The contribution of each, however, depends on the subject taught, classroom settings, and the educational stage. For example, summative assessments in some stages or programs are tools to help evaluate the effectiveness of programs, school improvement goals, alignment of curriculum, or student placement in specific programs. While summative assessment depends on grade and provide a mean of sorting of students, we it also give an indication of student effort. We don’t have this nice bell-shaped distribution of students’ grade curved because of merely their learning ability, but also because students differ in the effort they put in learning. A student doesn’t necessary get (A) because he grasps everything in the class, but it also means that he puts more effort in memorizing, trying to understand and read the material, preparing for the exam, attending classes and paying attention.

On the other side, summative assessments can only help in evaluating certain aspects of the learning process. Because they are spread out and occur after instruction and happen too far down the learning path to provide information at the classroom level and to make instructional adjustments and interventions during the learning process. It takes formative assessment to accomplish this. Formative assessments therefore somehow unite or equalize the effort a student makes to learn. Because this pattern of students’ evaluation emphasizes on active learning and student involvement. In conclusion, i believe that after we make sure a student has mastered or at least gained a standard knowledge, then we can move forward to formative type of assessments.


When I saw education taxonomies, few questions occurred to my mind: should these thinking levels of education applied all the time or are they subject- or educational level dependent? Is it necessary to complete one level to step-up to the next or can we just start already with one of the upper levels of thinking? For example can we read information and then start applying them in our field without the need to memorize it. What is the role of technology in modifying or even skipping one of these steps? For example I thought of the availability of medical information in computers or hand-held I phones which can provide you with all what you need about drugs or surgeries. This technology might contribute to minimizing the need to remember stuff. Also, the availability of statistical analysis software which can perform thousands of tests can make some aspects of the analysis part just much easier. I am not saying that technology can do the entire job, but it can make reduce the burden of some of these levels especially remembering part. Other levels, however, like understanding, applying, evaluating or creating are almost entirely human-dependent.


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  • Regina Oyesanya: I thought GRAD 602 is the best class on campus. I'm not alone! Thanks Britt and Jeff :)
  • Britt Watwood: Pat yourself (yourselves) on the back. You all recharged Jeff and I as much or more than we charged you.
  • amal: I believe that too! It just takes time for us to accept new things..I have done experiments on virtual animals and human beings during my undergraduat