I’ve just read a paper by Pachler et al (Computers & Education 54 (2010) pp715-721) which describes aspects of the JISC-funded project ‘Scoping a vision of formative e-assessment’. The paper starts by considering different perspectives on the ‘nature and value of formative e-assessment’. I’m sure it should have occurred to me before (but hadn’t!) that ‘formative (e)assessment’ can mean a range of different things. The emphasis might be on
- practice for summative assessment
- the provision of feedback
- a means of providing self-reflection
The paper goes on to make the key point that ‘no technology-based assessment is in itself formative, but almost any technology can be used in a formative way – if the right conditions are set in place.’ In other words, the technology isn’t the thing that makes learning happen, it’s student engagement that matters. Amen to that.