د/ايمان زغلول قاسم

استاذ تكنولوجيا التعليم المساعد بكلية التربية بالزلفي

book B1

Chapter 1. General Introduction
Although researchers have long advocated the potentially positive influences of
formative assessment on learning, its implementation has been challenging. One challenge is
the alignment of formative and summative practices. Other complicating factors are, for
instance, high teacher workload, class size, frequency of assessments and accompanying
feedback. Computers could offer a solution to overcoming some of these obstacles. For
example, computer-based assessments can automatically be scored, students can be provided
with automatically generated feedback, and reports that provide information on student
learning can automatically be generated for use by teachers and others. Although this may
seem a solution, the extent to which the computer can help facilitate formative assessment has
not been systematically investigated to date. Furthermore, recent publications have
highlighted the lack of a uniform definition of formative assessment. However, a set
definition is necessary for both implementing formative assessment and evaluating its
effectiveness.
The conceptual framework presented next first addresses the broader context of this
dissertation, which investigates assessment that intends to inform and support learning—
formative assessment. Subsequently, feedback, a key aspect of formative assessment, will be
elaborated. The last part of the conceptual framework concerns the use of computers in
educational assessment. Some aspects of the conceptual framework will be discussed in depth
in subsequent chapters, while some are used only to frame the chapters of this dissertation
within a broader context of the research.
1.1 Formative Assessment
In education, assessments are frequently used to obtain information about student
achievement and classroom processes. A common way to assess student achievement is by a
test, which can be described as ―an instrument or systematic procedure for observing and
describing one or more characteristics of a student using either a numerical scale or a
classification scheme‖ (Brookhart & Nitko, 2008, p. 5). However, not all testing activities are
conducted in a planned and systematic manner. The term assessment is often used to signify a
broader conception of testing as gathering information about student learning. Assessment
encompasses the use of a broad spectrum of instruments, such as paper and pencil tests,
projects, and observations (Stobart, 2008).
Assessments have different purposes, and the information gathered can be used at
different levels of education for decision making, for example, at the level of student, class,
school, or country (Brookhart & Nitko, 2008; Wiliam, Kingsbury, & Wise, 2013). This
dissertation focuses on assessments that are intended to be used at the level of the student,
class, or school. In addition to assessment, the term evaluation is used, which refers to the use
of assessment data to make decisions concerning the quality of education at a higher
aggregation level than the level of the learner or the class (Harlen, 2007; Shepard, 2005).

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