Would you get on airplane if the pilot didn't have a dashboard showing the flight path in real time? Without a dashboard, the flight might end up in France, even if the final destination was supposed to be Spain. In a classroom, the teacher is the pilot. If a teacher uses only summative assessments without the addition of formative assessments, it's like flying a plane without a dashboard.
Formative assessment is defined as “a wide variety of methods that teachers use to conduct in-process evaluations of student comprehension, learning needs, and academic progress during a lesson, unit, or course. Formative assessments help teachers identify concepts that students are struggling to understand, skills they are having difficulty acquiring, or learning standards they have not yet achieved so that adjustments can be made to lessons, instructional techniques, and academic support.” Summative assessments, on the other hand, are methods which are used to evaluate student learning progress and achievement at the end of a specific instructional period.
Some leading educational researchers made it easier to differentiate between the two types of assessments. They refer to Summative Assessment as “Assessment of Learning,” while Formative Assessment is called “Assessment for Learning.” Meta-analysis of studies into “Assessment for Learning” has indicated significant learning gains where formative assessment is used.
In a traditional learning setting, it can be a challenge to implement formative assessment methods. However, with a growing number of learners using personal learning devices (in class or at home), the opportunity to leverage the power formative assessments is reachable for many teachers and instructors. All you need is a modern and effective learning platform that has teacher-friendly dashboards; the platform should collect real-time data on every learner, then analyze and present the data in an actionable format.
When choosing a learning platform, make sure it enables powerful real-time data analytics and actionable formative assessments. At Time To Know, we offer an array of tools for formative assessment; contact one of our Ed-Tech experts to learn more.