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Enabling students to proactively evaluate, test and adapt the effectiveness of their learning through interactive online formative assessment

By Arlene Hunter


Whether we like it or not, when it comes to learning, most students are motivated by the desire to demonstrate success in the summative assessment component of the course, rather than implicitly develop their depth of knowledge, understanding and application of subject matter at hand. Viewing learning from this perspective, it is therefore vitally important to select and embed the ‘right’ assessment strategy as this will affect how and what students decide to learn, as well as how much time and effort they prioritise to different tasks and/or learning resources. In an attempt to break this cycle of assessment-driven learning, and in line with Vygotsky’s work on learning progression in which intervention allows an individual to develop further than if left on their own, a formative learning framework was developed to encourage students to take a more reflective and constructivist approach to their learning. The framework (originally funded by the Centre for Open Learning in Maths, Science, Computing and Technology CETL at The Open University), was designed to enhance student awareness, understanding and recognition of competency levels from a learning outcomes approach, and to allow them to test their ongoing academic progress at predetermined and self-selected points throughout the year. By working through each of the formative assessments, it was envisaged that students would become more self-directed and confident in their learning skills and abilities, and that this in turn would aid retention. This paper will present data collected over two-years on how students have engaged with this learning tool, the impact it has had on their perceived learning abilities and progression, the variances between expected and actual use, and the lessons learned on how formative assessment can be used as a successful method of helping students to learn how they learn, and how to do this more effectivel

Year: 2009
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Provided by: Open Research Online
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