Technology in Education

Formative and Summative Assessment

A portion of a teacher’s job is assessing their students understanding of the concepts covered in class.  There are two different forms of assessment.  Within each form there are multiple ways in which you can present the information.  The two forms of assessment are formative and summative.  Summative is the accumulation and final marks presented.  For example, it would be the final mark you received on an essay, or in a broader scope, it is the final mark you got in English 12.  Formative assessment is the ongoing and continuing marks that inform you in the present how you are doing.  For example, this would be the feedback given to you on an outline or rough draft that you would use to write the essay.  If you were taking English 12, it would be your mark that you have today without all your future assignments and finals completed.

As our education system evolves so do our forms of assessment. There are many new programs that allow the teacher to analysis where their students are struggling during the formative assessment period to help in the mastery of the content by the cumulative assessment.  Another part of the changing assessment is the involvement of parents.  Traditionally, schools have produced report cards three or four times a year and have parent teacher conferences twice a year.  Some schools are changing to using a digital report that includes a profile of students work that is shared with the parents.  Surrey has switched to using Fresh Grade, a computer program, to provide marks and status updates to parents.  They are not the only district making these changes.

I was asked to look at some of the different programs that allow teachers to look at students progress in different ways.  I had no idea there were so many different programs out there.  Some allowed parents to see daily progress whereas others were more designed just for the teacher to analysis and recognize certain parts of the assignments and curriculum that students struggled with.  Socrative is one of the programs that allows teachers to write quizzes and tests and then watch students answers in real time.  Once complete the program tracks which answers students struggled with.  Teachers can then review the quiz with the class but do it in the form of games.  JumpRope is a program that allows teachers to track multiple assignments that cover the same material to chart if students are mastering the topics or not.  The first assignment might show a student struggling with a topic but in later assignments teachers can see understanding of the topic.  JumpRope allows not only the teacher but also the student to see what has been mastered and what needs a bit more work.  The final program I found that was interesting was Active Grade.  Active Grade emphasis the formative assessment period by encouraging more feedback to different parts of the assignment rather than just the entire assignment as a whole.  For example, a research paper would be broken down into an outline, an introduction, referencing, and how well the paper was written.  This allows students, parents, and teachers to target the specific part of an assignment that a student is having difficulty grasping.  All these programs are being used with success.  More emphasis on formative assessment is being used rather than just the summative mark.  Schools are choosing to use formative and summative assessment differently than in the past to make stronger, well rounded students.

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