Prompt: This module has explored the use of technology tools for both formative and summative assessment. As you think about how you will implement formative and summative assessments in the online and blended environments, what are some of the factors you need to consider?

I struggle with formative assessment in an online environment.  To me, formative assessment is more than just giving quizzes, it is something we do frequently to gather data on student progress and use that to adjust instruction.  I do not like include formative assessment in the gradebook as something that impacts a students grade since it is a tool for me to use to better understand how I can address student learning needs.  More importantly for me to address individual student weaknesses and how I can modify the learning environment to help that student.

Online instruction is not as flexible as face to face.  With face to face instruction I am able to immediately use the information from what students are doing in class to make adjustments immediately.  As we are doing an activity or lesson and students seem confused or need supporting skills, I can make those adjustments on the fly.  In an online environment the students are probably not working synchronously with me and I am reacting to how students did after the fact, rather than being able to modify while the student is still in the module.  Also, changes I make tend to be more global to the design of the online course rather than individual modifications and adjustments.

Emailing students or leaving comments in the online environment giving a student feedback and recommendations based on how they do on a formative assessment task is useful, but still limiting.  I am unable to see how the student is responding to the instruction as they are interacting with it, thus when frustrations arise I can not make those immediate adjustments.  It is my experience that when a student completes a large amount of work and then receives feedback with corrections they are not typically motivated to go back and correct or redo not only the assessment but the instruction.

Technology can help support students receiving immediate feedback, but is limited.  I am confident that technology and online learning paradigms will continue to improve so that the online/blended environment will be more responsive, have more community, be more individualized and be better than a face to face classroom.  For the most part online is not there yet.

When I do formative and summative assessment I will consider …

  • How the students will interact with the assessment.
  • Is it authentic?
  • Can the student receive immediate feedback?
  • How will they receive feedback?
  • Does the assessment assess their knowledge of the content or does it reflect their comfort with the technology?
  • What will I do with the information?
  • How will it influence how the students learn?
  • How will it influence adjustments to instruction?
  • What happens when a student does not perform well?
  • Are there multiple ways a student can demonstrate the learning objective or is this one form of assessment the best/only way?
  • Are there reasons beyond their understanding of the content the student may perform poorly on the assessment, how do I handle that?
  • Can the computer do the assessment, is this a good idea?
  • Is the assessment compliant for students with disabilities? Flash based tools such as Prezi can not be accessed by screen readers.
  • Does the tool take additional time rather than enhance the quality of the assessment?