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Save time integrating formative assessment with FeedbackFruits

Nhi Nguyen
Rebecca LeBoeuf
Rebecca LeBoeuf
September 16, 2022
Table of Contents

There has been a major shift in the role of assessment in higher education, characterized as a move away from assessment “of” learning to assessment “for” learning. That is, assessment should provide rich information that guides and fosters the learning process instead of merely labeling students as competent or incompetent. To generate and process information, assessment for learning relies on not only summative, but formative assessment approaches such as peer feedback, self-reflection, or group evaluation. So why should you adopt formative assessment, and how can this be integrated quickly and easily at any stage of your course? These questions will be answered in this article.

Don’t have time now to read the entire article, you can also download it in pdf form for later reference.

A selection of use cases and rubric templates for self, peer, and group assessment, which have been designed and successfully adopted by institutions worldwide.
Join Cole Groom of FeedbackFruits and Patricia Luna of TAMU for an in-depth webinar exploring authentic assessment and how it can transform your approach to student evaluations

The benefits of formative assessment

Formative assessment has been shown to be highly effective in increasing student learning outcomes, cultivating a learning environment, and nurturing lifelong learning ability. 

1. Enhance student achievement 

Continuous feedback is one of the core elements in formative assessment, and it provides valuable insights into learner progress towards the learning objectives. Such insights allow teachers to identify existing gaps and adjust the curriculum, while enabling students to know where they are and what they need to do to reach their goals. When the courses are modified and students have a focus on where they’re aiming, academic achievement is ensured.

2. Foster student engagement and active learning

By integrating quick knowledge tests in-between lessons, or organizing peer/ group feedback activities, instructors can initiate meaningful interactions at all levels: student–teacher, student–student, and student–content. As formative assessments require constant measurement of learner progress towards the defined learning goals, students are transparent, and motivated to take charge of their own learning.

3. Develop employability skills

Since it supports the implementation of authentic assessment, formative assessment is critical to nurture and promote the transfer of skills. Through critical reflection, feedback, and group work, students can develop critical thinking, collaboration, self-regulation, and more.

4. Encourage multi-level feedback

Good feedback gets students to identify the gap between current and desired performance, thus enhancing their engagement and motivation, as well as facilitating teacher-student dialogue. Formative assessment is an effective approach to generate effective feedback, given its ability to assess higher levels of thinking – analysis and evaluation.

Read more about feedback: Feedback for learning: A comprehensive guide

Formative assessment strategies 

Here are some of the most common teaching strategies used for formative assessment: 

  • Peer feedback activities
  • Self-reflection after completion of the assignment 
  • Group member evaluation 
  • Low-stakes exams (quizzes, quick knowledge tests)
  • Group projects (presentations, case studies, portfolios)

For more formative assessment practices, and detailed breakdown of their pros and cons, you can check this resource.

How to design formative assessment activities using FeedbackFruits

As courses are moving towards online/hybrid format, it can be challenging to implement formative assessment. Lack of physical contact might result in higher levels of free-riding, lower motivation, and accountability when participating in formative activities. Pedagogical technology can aid teachers in overcoming these barriers, yet it takes a lot of time to master the tools, which adds to the already heavy workload. However, this is not the case when using FeedbackFruits tools, as all our solutions can be grasped and mastered in no time thanks to user-friendly interface. Below you can find how to use several of our tools to design, and integrate formative assessment at any time, stage of your courses. 

Use Interactive Document to engage students with the study materials during the preparation period

Within the Interactive Document, the instructor uploads the document to be discussed, then adds questions and discussion points within this by annotating the relevant text parts. Students are required to answer these questions, and participate in the discussions started by the instructor and start one discussion with their peers by creating annotations in relevant parts of the article. The entire set-up time is no more than 10 minutes. 

Success story: Dr. Jess Mitchell at Monash University has adopted this tool to encourage students to actively study the case studies.

Adding instructions in Interactive Document
Adding instruction in Interactive Document

More resources on using FeedbackFruits tools

You can watch our Tool setup series to see how easy it is to use our solutions for formative assessment.

The FeedbackFruits tips is a series focusing on the best strategies to utilize our tools to optimize different pedagogical approaches.

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