Understanding the connection between formative and summative assessments and how formative assessments should help the learner do well on the summative assessment, is vital for an instructional designer.

In the video shown below, the author shares an easy-to-understand description of both formative and summative assessments. From our previous coursework and my job as an ID at Samford, I am familiar with and exposed to assessments regularly. But, I have not considered how the two types work in tandem to determine how students successfully meet the course objectives.

Understanding that formative assessments should work as a checkpoint for both the learner and the instructor was a “light-bulb” moment. I recognized the value of feedback for the learner but had not considered that formative assessments offer critical information and feedback for the instructor. As the instructor stops at the formative assessment checkpoint, they can evaluate their instructional strategy and determine whether it effectively achieves the learning objectives. From the learner and instructor perspective, formative assessments are essential to creating significant learning.

Before I began the IDTE program, my educational experience included mostly summative assessments. Now, I realize how valuable quality formative assessments are in learning. I can point to several undergrad courses where the feedback from a few formative assessments would have not only made my work a little easier, but I would have learned so much more.

Having a specific checkpoint where I can stop, receive expert feedback from my trusty guide, then make adjustments based on that feedback have made my IDTE learning journey much richer and more satisfying. Plus, it has helped me embed the learning in my mind. The quest for learning requires both types of assessment for the learner to meet the objectives successfully.

Source: Gary Wright

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