Avoiding a Tragedy of the Commons
Appendix B: A note on the analytics used in this study
FORMATIVE AND SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT The introduction of two key terms is useful to frame this monograph, formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment is focused on assisting the faculty to directly improve their teaching and learning in the classroom. Summative assessment determines what level of knowledge or skills students have actually obtained. Formative assessments of all kinds are developed by individual faculty and by groups pursuing authentic measures that faculty can use. For example, portfolios and their offshoot e-portfolios are seen as authentic assessments, useful for benchmarking student learning improvements. However, ideally, specific assessment instruments should meet two criteria at one and the same time. They should meet minimum standards of reliability and validity. Without standardization, the third key concept that permits comparison, it is very difficult to use what might well be regarded as authentic assessments for anything other than heuristic purposes. Secondly, the assessment instrument should be sensitive to instruction, by which is meant faculty can teach to the test, making changes in their course content and teaching methods to improve results. Multiple choice tests are not easily adapted for such purposes because there are right or wrong answers on each individual test item, which makes teaching to the test problematic. Shavelson et al. (2009) make a case for performance assessments that satisfy minimum reliability and validity standards while being regarded as authentic by faculty and sensitive to instruction. Throughout this monograph I argue that there is an important role for appropriate standardized assessments that can equally be used...
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