Journal Club: Online Formative Assessment

Article: Gikandi, Morrow, & Davis. (2011). Online formative assessment in higher education: A review of the literature. Computers & Education, 57(4), 2333-2351.

As an educator in higher education or hospital setting it is likely part, some or all of your education will be delivered via online or blended learning approach. An essential component of education is assessment which is to measure and evaluate the learning development, learned skills, or educational needs of the learner.

Benefits of online learning:

  • scalability; accessibility; cost; asynchronous.

Assessment in Online Learning:

“….. assessment (whether formative or summative) in online learning contexts encompasses distinct characteristics as compared to f2f contexts particularly due to the asynchronous nature of interactivity among the online participants (the teacher and learners” (pg. 2334).

Purpose of Assessment:

Assessment is at the heart of formal higher education and is a core component for effective learning.

“Assessment in online contexts requires educators to rethink online pedagogy in order to achieve effective formative assessment strategies that can support meaningful (higher-order or deep) learning and its assessment.”

Teaching and Learning Processes:

“need to be assessment-centered to provide learners with opportunities to demonstrate their developing abilities and receive support to enhance their learning.

It is important to note that, although formative assessment (assessment to support learning) and summative assessment (for validation and accreditation) are not separate or fixed processes, and tensions exist between them.”

Method of Online Assessment

“The benefits of online formative assessment discussed here are facilitated through a variety of approaches that emerge from the reviewed literature including self, peer and e-portfolio assessment.

Each of these techniques utilizes a variety of online tools such as asynchronous discussion forums, self-test quiz tools, and e-portfolios.”

Conclusions and Recommendations

“… educators need to recognize and emphasize the value of embedding assessment within learning processes and the value of assessing products as well as processes of learning. There is also need to foster shared understanding among students about what is valued in assessment and their roles within this process in order to achieve desirable educational outcomes.”

Summary Point:

Online formative assessment can provide a means to align assessment with teaching and learning, and inevitably change how learning and assessment occur.

Keywords: Assessment; Formative assessment; Online learning; Innovative pedagogical strategy; Higher education; Blended learning.

Other Resources

Nursing Education Network. (2019). Formative & Summative Assessment

Nursing Education Network. (2019). The Perfect Assessment