CA-Formative and Summative Assessments
Dixon, M. (2009). Formative assessment practice, formative leadership practice, formative teaching practice, assessment of learning, assessment for learning, assessment as learning. New Zealand Principals’ Federation Magazine, 15-17.
In this article, Malcolm Dixon makes the case for the important distinction between Assessment of Learning and Assessment for Learning. In Assessment of Learning, administrative and governmental entities call for the collection of information that assess and compare the performance of students against a set of academic standards. Examples of Assessment of Learning would be the annual standardized tests that students would be required to take under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (2015). Dixon argues that the nature of Assessment of Learning does not enhance student understanding or improve the quality of learning. This is when Dixon proposes a simple switch in words from “of” to “for” causes a revolution when educators start moving towards Assessment for Learning. In this situation, teachers put the focus on asking students questions about what and how they learn and supports the developmental needs of a more Constructivist learning approach.
I really liked reading Dixon’s article; so much so that I searched Twitter to see if he had an account so that I could follow him but I couldn’t find any (I try and follow library professionals that I admire and other organizations that align with my professional goals). His theories on formative assessment is probably the one I read that come closest to The Big Think theories. I liked how he was able to pack in some large theoretical ideas in relatively easy to understand language that was engaging. Plus, he used bullet-points throughout his article to underline major points and to visually break up the article in discernible chunks, which I thought was another great strategy to make his article more accessible to readers.