Barkley mentioned in the text that
“Summative assessment is the summary evaluation at the end of a topic, unit, or program, usually to produce a grade. It is essentially product focused. Tests are the traditional vehicle for this type of assessment. Formative assessment is more process-oriented and developmental in nature. Its primary purpose is to provide feedback that encourages adjustments and corrections. Both summative and formative types of assessment are valuable and necessary and, in practice, often blended.” (Barkley, 2009, p. 29)
I am in favor of educative assessment (combination of summative assessment and formative assessment), which is important to evaluate students learning and provide timely feedback.
As an instructor, I am trying to assess students using both summative and formative assessments, not only in terms of exams and assignments but also in term of their reflections and feedbacks.
I would like to share my personal experience of using an educative assessment in my teaching.
Since 2015, Simon Fraser University and Faculty of Health Sciences have applied the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses (SET-C) feedback framework. It is a summative assessment implemented online at the end of each semester. It measures 3 levels of outcomes, university level, faculty level, and course level outcomes. It is voluntary in nature and about 50% of students provides feedback. As a nature of summative assessment, instructors don’t receive a real-time feedback during the course. Therefore, a formative assessment tool is needed to assist instructors and students to reflect upon progress made and to make appropriate real-time adjustments.
In 2015, while developing a new upper level undergraduate course “The Principles of Health Program Evaluation”, I had an opportunity to design a formative assessment process. The purposes of the formative assessment are 1) to identify students’ perceptions of progress and any “muddiest points” that needed re-teaching, and 2) to create a feedback loop to inform my teaching.
I conducted a “Teaching Inquiry” using a set of 4 interlocking tools (2 formative and 2 summative tools) to assess student learning and my teaching. The “Teaching Inquiry” focused on these 2 questions:
- Is the quality of my teaching improving?
- Am I effectively supporting students’ learning?
Two formative assessment tools are 1) Student learning reflection tool and 2) Instructor’s Teaching Journal. Student learning reflection tool asks students what are the most important concepts, what are their muddy points, what is students understanding of muddiest points after re-teaching, and other comments/suggestions. I wrote the teaching journal which contains what did I plan to do, what actually happened, and what my reflections/actions were taken.
Two summative assessment tools: 3) Semi-Semester Survey and 4) In-depth interviews with students were administered at the middle and end of the semester. Semi-Semester Survey asks students on the instructor’s engagement with them, effectiveness of the student learning reflection tool, and other comments; while In-depth Interviews seek students’ perception on the effectiveness of the student learning reflection tool.
Figure: Process of Teaching Inquiry
Findings revealed that student learning reflection tool activated students’ interest, reflected on learning, identified their muddiest points, and stimulated engagement (Reflective Learning); while instructor’s teaching journal assisted instructor to reflect on topics that needed modification and re-teaching the muddiest points, and improved presentation and communication (Reflective Teaching). Findings of semi-semester survey revealed that the student learning reflection tool assisted them to learn and helped the instructor improve his teaching.
Due to the findings, I have made several changes to the course content – enhanced focus on specific course concepts identified by students as the “muddiest points”. I have used more dialogic techniques to enhance student engagement. I have improved my communication skill vis-a-vis tone, energy, and enunciation. I have also made significant revisions to the lecture and reading materials.
The educative assessment (combination of formative and summative assessments) has enhanced students to learn and improved my teaching. Due to the effectiveness of the educative assessment, I will 1) administer the formative assessment tools online in a class I will be jointly teaching in the Summer 2017, 2) share the interlocking assessment tools and process with another instructor in the Summer/Fall 2017, and 3) share the effectiveness of the teaching inquiry with other faculty members at FHS, teaching and learning community of SFU, and beyond.
Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Tun, Myint (2016). Improving Teaching Effectiveness with a Short Students’ Reflection Tool, ISTLD, SFU