The Reflective Educator

Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

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Day: November 19, 2010

You have to give the path

We have been having a lot of discussion on #edchat and in the educational blogosphere about the state of education. We basically have two camps, one of which believes that what we need is more accountability and assessment of students. We’ll call that camp A. The other camp believes we need a model which includes more personalized instruction, a focus on skills more than content, and that we need to use of real world tools in education. We’ll call that camp B. You might be somewhere between camp A and camp B, but most people I’ve heard give an opinion are either in A or B.

The path from A to B

The problem is, I don’t see many people talking about how you get from camp A to camp B. We need to talk more about the route between what we are doing and what we would like to see. You can get people to agree with your vision, but unless you give them some idea on how to get there, they aren’t going to follow you.


Formative assessment and Summative assessment

I think that the relationship between formative and summative assesment looks like the following.

Formative assessment vs Summative assessment overlapping Venn diagram

According to Wikipedia:

Formative assessment is a self-reflective process that Intends to promote student attainment. Cowie and Bell define it as the bidirectional process between teacher and student to enhance, recognize and respond to the learning. Black and Wiliam consider an assessment ‘formative’ when the feedback from learning activities is actually used to adapt the teaching to meet the learner’s needs. Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick have re-interpreted research on formative assessment and feedback and shown how these processes can help students take control of their own learning (self-regulated learning).

Summative assessment (or Summative evaluation) refers to the assessment of the learning and summarizes the development of learners at a particular time.

Summative assessment is characterized as assessment of learning and is contrasted with formative assessment, which is assessment for learning.

Is my graph appropriate? Is it possible to have an assessment which is both used to guide the learning process and help the learner is therefore formative and also be a snap-shot of what the learner knows? Or are formative and summative assessment mutually exclusive?