Over the past couple of decades, the era of monotonous teaching has phased out giving rise to applications of technology in the field of teaching.
Schools are looking for efficient ways to reduce the time spent by teachers in formulating test results. The emphasis has shifted and rightfully so to learning outcomes. Evolution of software tools to monitor the progress of students has made learning a two-way process. E-Learning, digital content, data analytics and assessment tools have become mainstream within the K-12 sector. With the goal of education changed from clearing exams to an ‘overall personal development’, education industry is set for a major disruption.
Moving away from the legacy testing methodology, formative assessment solutions allow teachers to monitor their pupil’s progress in real-time.
The one-size-fits-all approach is no longer acceptable and assessment solutions that are highly personalized to every student’s profile are gaining traction among the top schools. Teachers are able to take data-empowered decisions as against the summative assessments. Additionally, students are able to analyze their own performances and attain a self-learner’s approach.
A Dynamic Approach: Within a summative approach, students’ assessment happens against a pre-defined benchmark, though at the end of the semester. Waiting up to the end of the course remains the biggest disadvantage of this approach. This rigidity has often led to a discontent among students. Whereas, Formative assessment solutions provides for assessments on the go. This approach allows the teachers to course-correct, if required, on the pain areas of their pupils. Thus, making it a more agile and dynamic approach to teaching.
Quick & Reliable: Owing to the automated & quick nature of the assessment solutions, teachers are spending more time with designing focused improvement programs for their students. In turn, they are also able to learn & improve their own approach towards teaching. Furthermore, there is less probability of deviation in results, thus building trust in the reliability of the work.
Personalized Feedback: Even though summative assessment found acceptance within the longer part of the history teaching, it actually reflects on the quality of school curriculum rather than student performance. On the other hand, formative assessment serves the purpose of student evolution through informal testing options. Results from these tests can help identify the weaknesses within particular student and lead to a concentrated learning approach.
Challenges: In a developing country like India, class-size and workload remain the top challenges for successful implementation of formative assessment. Additionally, the prevalent inertia of the summative assessment may also hinder the successful transformation. The school management should make efforts and provide a set timeline to support the teachers in this endeavor. Too much data with too little understanding can be another challenge. Teachers should have clarity on differentiating the levels of assessment. In turn, students should be mentored to understand these differentiations clearly. At some point, formative assessment solutions will become a self-sustaining process to which students can adjust independently. Thus, at first students may start by learning about their mistakes and the unknown. Over a period, they will move on to self-learning, thus evolving themselves into better learners.
The speed of adoption and the degree of application will decide on the success of Formative Assessment Solutions. As leading universities and governments in developed countries are providing Research Grants to better the applications of assessment solutions, similar help should be forthcoming within India.