The effort factor and students’ assessment

Posted on: March 27, 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.


2 Responses to "The effort factor and students’ assessment"

“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.”

Not sure I follow you…you seem to imply we use summative assessment to ensure mastery before using formative assessments. Yet formative assessments certainly can facilitate mastery of knowledge. Everyone does not learn the same way, so having multiple paths in which learning can progress, supplemented with multiple feedback mechanisms (a formative approach), would seem to provide a more effective mechanism for learning such that the summative assessment is more of a confirmation of learning rather than a filtering process.

I am glad you pointed that out. Your comment helped differentiate two concept that I thought they were somewhat confusing to me..Objective assessment and summative assessment! I recommended balancing formative and summative assessment. However, i concluded that summative assessment is necessary for mastering knowledge. Which i believe after i read your comment is not a right conclusion. I will back up and conclude that both assessments’ types should be there. Nevertheless, the contribution of each one depends on the subject, stage of education and the goal of the course.

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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


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