09 SES 12 B, Formative and Summative Assessments
The two key purposes of assessment, formative and summative, are often in a contradictory position. The summative assessment of learning will normally prevent the formative assessment for learning to be realised (Butler, 1988), meaning that the learning potential of the assessment will often be minimal. It is therefore a central challenge to find ways to combine the dual use of assessment.
It is a central aim of the European research project Assess Inquiry in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (ASSIST-ME) to design and implement various assessment methods (Dolin, 2012), and to research their validity and reliability used formatively and summatively. ASSIST-ME involves 10 partners in 8 European countries and runs 2012-2016.
One of these assessment methods is the so-called Structured Assessment Dialogue (SAD), developed by the Danish research team. The method has been tested in classes in three European countries and the results are currently being analyzed.
Objectives and research questions
There is a strong tradition in the Danish school system for classroom dialogue, so it felt natural to try to design an assessment method that structures and formalises the dialogue in the classroom. Most formative assessments within the typical classroom are quite informal in nature, used differently by different teachers (Shinn, 2013). But in order to be effective and to make it possible to be used for summative purposes, the assessment method must provide a standardized approach to how it is administered. A SAD is such a structured assessment format following three well-defined phases with clear instructions for the teacher and the students of their role. The three phases - 5 minutes of dialogue, 5 minutes of peer feedback, 3 minutes student self-assessment – each have their specific formative and summative function. The SAD concept will be described detailed in the presentation.
One of the points of the SAD is that it ritualizes the whole assessment process, so the different phases, each with their specific purpose, can be conducted as a routine and with no risk involved – once it is introduced and accepted. Another central point is that the formalized approach to the formative assessment makes it possible to establish reliability and validity measures – which are a prerequisite for a sound formative assessment and especially for using the method for summative purpose.
The ASSIST-ME project has some research questions in common for all the implemented assessment methods. We will in this presentation focus on this:
What are the main challenges related to the uptake of SAD in the daily practices in science, technology and mathematics in primary and secondary schools in different European educational systems?
Paul Black and Wynne Harlen are both partners in the ASSIST-ME project, and both have formed the project’s theoretical conceptualization of formative assessment (Black and Wiliam, 1998; Harlen, 2012). We see summative and formative assessment as part of the same cycle, but with formative assessment involving the students, judging their performance both on subject specific and on personal criteria and with the aim of finding the next learning step (Harlen, 2013).
Our design of a dialogue-based assessment draws upon the Norwegian researcher Olga Dysthe (1996), seeing dialogue as a central way to learning. Dysthe is inspired by the Russian linguistic Bakhtin (1981), and the key point is to open a room for student reflection in a non-authoritative environment.
The feedback-formats are theoretically based on Hattie and Timperley (2007). In order to be able to give and receive formative feedback, the ability to establish a learning progression within a specific domain became an important competence for teachers as well as students (Alonzo and Gotwals, 2012).
Alonzo, A. C. and Gotwals, A. W. (eds.)(2012). Learning Progressions in Science: Current Challenges and Future Directions. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texax Press. Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998). Developing a theory of formative assessment. In: Gardener, J. (Ed.): Assessment and Learning. London: Sage. p. 81-100. Butler, R. (1988) Enhancing and undermining intrinsic motivation: the effects of task-involving and ego-involving evaluation on interest and involvement, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 58, 1–14. Chappuis, S. and Chappuis, J. (2008). The Best Value in Formative Assessment, Informative Assessment, 65(4), 14-19. Dolin, J. (2012). Assess Inquiry in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education: ASSIST-ME proposal. Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen. http://assistme.ku.dk (retrieved 12.01.2016). Dysthe, O. (1996). The Multivoiced Classroom Interactions of Writing and Classroom Discourse. Written communication, 13(3), 385-425. Harlen, W. (2012). On the relationship between assessment for formative and summative purposes, in: Gardner, J., (ed.), Assessment and Learning. London: Sage pp. 87-102. Harlen, W. (2013). Assessment & inquiry-based science education: issues in policy and practice. Global Network of science Academies (IAP) science Education Programme (SEP). http://www.interacademies.net/File.aspx?id=21245 (retrieved 12.01.2016). Hattie, J. and Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112. Looney, J. W. (2011): Integrating Formative and Summative Assessment: Progress Toward a Seamless System? OECD Education Working Papers, No. 58, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kghx3kbl734-en (retrieved 12.01.2016). Shinn, M. R. (2013). Measuring General Outcomes: A critical component in scientific and practical progress monitoring practices. Pearson: Aimsweb. Http://www.aimsweb.com/Wp-content/uploads/Mark-Shinn-gom_Master-Monitoring-White-paper.pdf. (retrieved 12.01.2016). Zeichner, K. M., & Nofke, S. E. (2001). Practitioner research. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching (4th edition). Washington DC: Aera.
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