Monday, November 19, 2012

6.3 Reflection: Technology and Assessment

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?

For an assessment to really be formative, the process has to go beyond being an interim checkpoint between summative tests. A formative assessment should be diagnostic and actually tell us something about what the student does and does not know. It needs to inform subsequent instruction and give feedback to students as to whether they are on track or need additional practice or alternative resources to further their learning. It’s important to keep in mind the “Student uses feedback to learn” in Tuttle’s Stages for Formative Assessment.

Technology provides both benefits and challenges for assessment, especially in online and blended learning environments.


  • Technology can provide automatic scoring and immediate results, including diagnostics. 
  • Several of the Web 2.0 assessment tools can be set to allow students to practice or do tutorials and then retake the assessment. 
  • Students can take the assessment asynchronously and at times that are convenient to their schedules. 

Challenges and factors to consider:
  • Ensuring that the online tools are fully accessible to all students. 
  • Providing feedback that is respectful and sensitive to students’ needs. Online/blended learning teachers should take care in how and when students are given feedback. Responses should be timely and teachers should be careful in their wording and tone. 
  • Checking that question items actually test what teachers want students to know and be able to do. This is especially important when using pre-prepared quizzes and tools and quizzes created by other teachers. Not all of the quizzes that come up in a search of a particular Web 2.0 tool are high quality and some may have questions that are not applicable. 
  • Instituting policies, systems, and tools to help curb cheating or inappropriate collaboration.