د/ايمان زغلول قاسم

استاذ تكنولوجيا التعليم المساعد بكلية التربية بالزلفي

book B2

1.1.1 Summative and Formative Assessment
Often a distinction is made between the summative and formative purposes of
assessment. Scriven (1967) introduced the terms summative and formative in the context of
program evaluations. Bloom, Hastings, and Madaus (1971) first applied these terms in the
context of assessment. Assessment results are summative in purpose when they are intended
to play a role in making decisions about the mastery of a defined content domain. For
example, these concern decisions regarding selection, classification, certification, and
placement (Sanders, 2011). In other words, it summarises the level of performance over a
certain defined content domain and time span, such as a course or study programme (Sadler,
1989). However, if assessment results are intended to inform and steer the learning process,
assessment is formative in purpose.
Some discussions about the distinctions between formative and summative assessment
have focused on the timing of the assessment, that is, whether it occurs during the learning
process (formative) or after the learning has taken place (summative). However, numerous
researchers have emphasised that a distinction between formative and summative assessment
based on time-related characteristics is not useful (Bennett, 2011; Sadler, 1989; Stobart,
2008). Although the distinction between formative and summative assessment indicates
within their intended uses, summative and formative assessments are not mutually exclusive
in their purposes. Namely, they can coexist as the primary and secondary purposes of the
same assessment (Bennett, 2011). Furthermore, there is a difference between the purpose and
the function of assessments. The purpose for which the assessment has been designed largely
influences the feasibility of the assessment results in serving a particular purpose, although
sometimes test results are used for purposes they were not intended to serve (Stobart, 2008).
Thus, the way in which assessment results are actually used determines their function, while
the goal for which they have been initially designed determines the purpose. For example,
some assessments are intended to make pass/fail decisions about students at the end of a
course (summative). However, when they are accompanied by qualitative feedback
(formative), these same assessments could inform students about the quality of their work and
areas they need to improve. Moreover, sometimes assessments can have intentionally
different purposes for different target groups at various levels in the education system. For
example, assessments that are intended to support learning at the levels of the individual and
the class (formative) can also to be used at the school level to monitor the progress of this
group of pupils (summative and formative).
1.2.2 Features of Formative Assessment
The effectiveness of formative assessment is widely acknowledged. However, these
claims are not always well grounded, which is, amongst other factors, related to the lack of a
uniform definition of the concept of formative assessment (Bennett, 2011). Formative
assessment is a broad concept that comprises many definitions (e.g., assessment for learning,
and diagnostic testing; Bennett, 2011; Johnson & Burdett, 2010). Formative assessment is
thus an umbrella term that covers various approaches based on different learning theories
(Briggs, Ruiz-Primo, Furtak, Shepard, & Yin, 2012). The main feature that these approaches
have in common is that the evidence that has been gathered using assessments is interpreted

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