Saturday, October 4, 2014

Formative vs Summative Evaluations

This week I was asked to do a Formative Evaluation for another student's project. I of course said yes, and then realized I truly wasn't sure what was or what went into a formative evaluation.

I assumed that I was going to evaluate a final or completed project to give them feed back and critique on how they did. This was an incorrect assumption.

Apparently what I thought I would be doing was a Summative Evaluation. The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.

This is quite different from the Formative evaluation where the goal is to  monitor student learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning. 

More specifically, formative assessments help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work help faculty recognize where students are struggling and address problems immediately.

Formative assessments are generally low stakes, which means that they have low or no point value. Which quite opposite the summative assessment that are often high stakes, which means that they have a high point value. Examples of summative assessments include:

  • a midterm exam
  • a final project
  • a paper
  • a senior recital

I found the differences interesting and now have a much better understanding of what my goal is and why I am being asked to complete the task. My understanding of the difference will allow me to evaluate the project at greater value to give the student the most effective feedback.  .  

Here is a great page that I was able to get some of my information from.

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