Nowadays the teachers have to observe the learning process and to ensure that the consistency in grading is kept. In the research work, it is claimed that a combination of formative and summative assessment is the most effective strategy. A formative assessment is essential in learning and summative assessment makes sure that it is conducted properly. Moreover, the formative and summative assessment is effective in time management and instruction. This paper is focused on the effect of assessment to create consistent grading system and instruction in the higher education. The paper discusses the use of formative tests that can contribute to an enhancement of summative evaluation. Moreover, the author provided a short data analysis from a questionnaire and interview.
Key words: formative assessment, summative assessment, higher education, consistency, instruction.
It is requiredto monitor the learning process and assess it properly in higher education. Assessment is an essential part in higher education because it plays a key role in the development of courses. It gives information about the progress of students’ learning, and encourages students to study better. Assessment process in higher education has altered. A variety of assessment methods is necessary to increase the active engagement of the students.
There are two basic forms of assessment: formative and summative. Summative assessment is used for evaluation of what students have learned. The aim of summative assessment is to define if students have gained particular competencies. In this paper, the main types of assessment and students’ perception on assessment are described. Moreover, some effective suggestions on improving assessment are provided.
Statement of the problem: Some tensions occur when the same person performs both formative and summative functions. Teachers face difficulties daily as they collect information on student performance to aid students gain knowledge and they evaluate students’ performance for the consistent grading system. They may make mistakes in assessment for many reasons such as lack of time, professional competences, experiences and etc. Therefore, it is necessary is to develop teaching competencies to enhance the learning process in order to eliminate the discontinuity between theoretical knowledge and professional experiences.
In grading and instruction consistency is important. Typical higher education courses incorporate a head instructor and assistants. The head instructor is required to design the course and conducting lectures, whereas the teaching assistants often teach the discussions, called sections. Moreover, the head instructor also coordinates the multiple sections and guiding the teaching assistants. One of the common difficulties in the courses is observing the individual activities. Moreover, teachers have to ensure that consistency is kept and that all students are graded equally and fairly. The necessity for consistency in teaching and grading is obligatory, but it has not been examined properly in the research field.
Objectives of the study:
− To identify both formative and summative assessments that teachers use in the higher education
− To examine opinions of the students on assessment
− To reveal strategies contributive to fair assessment
Significance of the research: the importance of the work lies in the fact that the results of this study may help teachers understand more about students’ opinions on assessment and this may be effective in designing assessment strategies.
Chapter I: Literature review
Formative assessment can be a learning instrument by students. It creates situations to conduct activities that motivate students to think using critically and to improve skills, such as presentation, communication, analytical and skills necessary for teamwork. Such skills could also aid students who have low marks and performance to help them improve their learning in alternative ways.
Assessment should be performed fairly and equally. According to Hoffman (1), one of the most important aspects of the grading in the higher education is consistency. Tracking consistency in grading throughout the learning process is obligatory. Moreover, grading is one of the essential aspects to be considered in teacher training program and staff meetings. Consequently, course coordinators, and pedagogues should consider the problem of a grading system. To enhance instruction and grading it is crucial to have both formative and summative assessments, especially in higher education.
Assessment serves many objectives and can be fulfilled in different forms. According to Cowan (2), teachers and administrators apply it to monitor and to make comparisons across groups. In the higher education educators perform assessment activities to track achievement and progress of students. Moreover, teachers may use assessment instruments to define learner misconceptions and also to analyze the curriculum. Formative assessment includes feedback to enhance teaching and learning, while summative assessment monitors student’s knowledge of a grade. Formative assessment is any activity that gives feedback to students on their learning progress. It incorporates, for example, open — ended questions, essays, and other tasks, such as presentations or projects. Closed-ended questions, such as multiple — choice questions are necessary for the student’s growth. It means that assessment guides learning and feedback adds the efficiency to the learning process. Formative assessment activities are a part of the learning process that gives feedback to the students and teachers during the semester. The main aim of formative assessment is to improve student learning by giving information about their achievements. It leads to activities that motivate students to develop critical thinking skills and lifelong skills.
Summative assessment is necessary for evaluation, and is usually a numerical or letter mark. The activities of summative assessment are tests conducted at the end of a term or a semester. Summative assessment includes closed-ended questions and multiple-choice tests. According to Cowan, summative assessment is an assessment tool used for the objective of designing learning, giving reports to the students and their families about the progress of students. The quality of the feedback contributes to assessment. Teachers claim that this is an important part in learning, and therefore they say such feedback should be emphasized in the curriculum. However, this issue is still in its development, and many educators still find it difficult to give productive and fair feedback. Assessment in the higher education has a key role for giving the student a good education and making sure that a student will be qualified after graduation.
The aim of this study is to examine the opinions of students towards assessment in education and the suggestions that can be made.
Challenges and effective methods
Feedback should be fair and have to incorporate not only areas for enhancement but also motivational feedback. The literature gives several ideas to create the feedback more appropriate and how to motivate learners to apply the feedback correctly. One idea is to use “transparency” in assessment to help students get a clear understanding of their progress. Moreover, it should be so clear that students could evaluate their tasks in the same way that their educators do. Another suggestion is to make students engaged in the feedback so that they could control their own learning and to enhance their growth. Moreover, teachers should emphasize the most useful comments. It is advisable not to use typical comments. For instance, when evaluating a graph, instead of writing that the graph is bad; it will be effective if the student gets ideas of how to enhance the graph. Many works depict the advantages and disadvantages, and explains which is more effective in various situations. It is claimed, however, that in the higher education both forms are necessary and interconnected. It is believed that the assessment cannot be only summative since the students cannot get the feedback necessary for progress. If teachers combine formative assessment with summative assessment biases and mistakes can be avoided. According to Race (4), the combination of summative and formative assessment can give more perspectives than a single assessment and it can provide the validity of each assessment. Assessment validity is especially significant in higher education, because assessment is essential in higher education. It can be noticed that the use of traditional assessment methods can have some negative sides in education. Firstly, education system is only focused on results getting higher exam results and this is challenging for teachers. Secondly, it limits the usage of feedbacks and it leads to low self-assessment. Consistency in grading is essential and should be taken into account all the time. Unfairness can occur in grading and it is important to define all the weaknesses in instructions. It is also necessary to compare the achievements of learners in both assessments. According to Cerny (3), formative assessment with good feedback encourages students to learn and achieve their aims. It also demonstrates that without full feedback, students show low results. Moreover, summative assessment leads to objectivity and consistency in grading. If students didn’t receive any feedback or educators were not qualified teaching. If students had only summative assessment, they would not get all the informative advantages of feedback, and if they had only formative assessment, the grades may be unfair and inappropriate. The combination of the assessments provides all the opportunities in education. As for main obstacles, time is one of the main obstacles in applying all the necessary assessment activities in the classroom; it is difficult when implementing both formative and summative assessment. Distributing time for assessment becomes challenging when there is a large number of students.
In order to enhance teaching quality in the higher education, it is necessary to conduct pedagogical training. One suggestion is to incorporate assessment-related training and a good grading system. The new teachers can be aware of their roles and the significance of having assessment tools, one that gives feedback to the students, and one that shows comparisons, which leads to objectivity. Educators claim that multiple choice tests are more objective than other types of tasks and they are often used in the classroom. Another suggestion is to give the opportunity to evaluate both the student and the educator’s performance. This suggestion develops self-assessment which leads to the development of education.
One of the main advantages of formative assessment, providing immediate feedback and encouraging to study enhances the learning. When I analyzed the opinions of the students towards assessment, I noticed that immediate evaluation boosts their desire to study.
Chapter II: Methodology
The present study is aimed at addressing these questions:
What is the use of combination of formative and summative assessment?
− What are students’ opinions on formative and summative assessment?
− What suggestions can be given in improving assessment in the higher education?
Research design of the work– is a combination of quantitative and qualitative designs.
In data collection, an online questionnaire form and a semi-structured questionnaire form have been used by the researcher. The questionnaire form questions have been formulated by combining questions from the research works in this topic. The first part of the questionnaire form is about personal information. The second part consists of 15 questions. The third section is formed of the students’ suggestions on assessment. The students participated in the questionnaire voluntarily. After the questionnaire forms were completed, interviews have been conducted with 7 students, who agreed to take part in them. Questions were about the significance of assessment, its impact, challenges during practices and other assessment methods. The interviews lasted for 10–15 minutes and they were recorded.
Data collection methods:
Data collection will be gathered through audio recordings.
Interviews and questionnaires will be subjected to quantitative and qualitative analyses.
In the research 20 students participated. Junior and sophomore students studying two foreign languages at the faculty of Education and Humanities of Suleyman Demirel University in Kaskelen, Kazakhstan.
Population — 2 TFL groups of intermediate-upper-intermediate level students.
Anticipated sample — a total number of 20 students, aged 18–20.
In the research the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data has been performed and the results have been analyzed in words. However, interviews made with 5 students have been recorded separately and then they have been analyzed.
Chapter III: Findings
The results of the questionnaire turned out to be predictable. According to the results of questionnaire the majority answered that they are in need of fair assessment. Moreover, they answered that they like multiple choice tests and self-assessment as they may be aware of own weaknesses and gaps. Moreover, students said that informative feedback helped them understand the material better and they were more motivated to study better. The population consisted of 20 learners of intermediate (B1) level of English. All participants were taking part in the research anonymously, in purpose of ensuring them with totally freedom of voice.
In the interview on formative tests the majority of students answered that the formative tests should not be limited in time. For students it is significant that formative tests let them pass the test more than one time so they can repeat it and consolidate the learnt material. However, several attempts change the test's final grade and results may be different.
Giving feedback for each test and for students’ opinion is important to motivate them to learn. The last part of the questionnaire consisted of 5 questions concerning students’ attitude towards formative tests in higher education. Most of the students have positive attitudes towards FT, claiming that FT aid them to reinforce their desire to study better, to encourage their self — learning, to define weaknesses and boost their confidence. This shows that students find FT significant and useful.
Chapter IV: Conclusion
Assessment affects student life, both in giving fair feedback for boosting progress, and in giving a mark, which can contribute to the career and professional life.. Educators have to be aware of the influence and organize their teaching, by using formative assessment for advancing learning, and by using summative assessment for monitoring the results. The argument highlights the combination of both. The summative and formative activities contribute to an efficient assessment plan. The suggestion is that summative tasks can be conducted two or three times regularly. The formative activities can be performed more often, even every week. They can be repeated in the same way so that students could get experience and improve their knowledge in a particular area. The literature highlights that formative assessment is essential in improving learning. It is significant, however, to take into account gaps as it takes time to realize quality assessment for students and teachers. Moreover, proper training of the educators is required. Summative assessment is easier to apply, especially in higher education, where technology equipped exams are mostly conducted. Therefore, the combination of both assessments is essential. To sum up, it is evident that formative assessment with fair feedback boosts learning and invokes desire to study. Teachers should give informative feedback so that students could be aware of their progress and learning. Summative assessment gives objectivity due to which organizing educational process in the classroom is achievable. Consequently, both assessments are essential as they provide learning opportunities and results that make the teaching more successful.
- Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of educational technology. Retrieved from http://eet.sdsu.edu/eetwiki/index.php/Main_Page
- Cowan, J. (2003). Assessment for learning: Giving timely effective feedback. Exchange, 4, 21–22. Retrieved from http://www.exchange.ac.uk/files/eissue4.pdf
- Cerny, C. (2005). Formative assessment. In B.Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of educational technology. Retrieved from http://eet.sdsu.edu/eetwiki/index.php/Main_Page
- Race, P. (2009). Designing assessment to improve physical sciences learning. Hull, UK: Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/ps/documents/