Active Learning: A Formative & Summative Assessment Approach To Teaching & Learning
Back by popular demand!
Tuesday, April 11 ~ 1:00-2:15pm (Eastern)
Challenge - How to get students engaged in class
This webinar is aimed at addressing several challenges related to formative assessments:
- Teachers sometimes struggle to design homework (out-of-class work) and in-class activities that allow students to practice the skills necessary to achieve the course learning outcomes
- Teachers also sometimes struggle to find enough “teachable moments” where their feedback can make the most difference in student learning
- Students often fail to see the relevance of their homework and, so, they are not fully prepared to excel in the in-class activities that their teacher has prepared. Thus, students often miss out on the chance to open up “teachable moments” where their teacher can really help them learn
- In addition, this webinar will address challenges related to summative assessments:
- Teachers sometimes struggle to properly match the practice students get during class, and while working on their own with the tests, projects, or papers used to assess what the student eventually learns
Students learn when they have many opportunities to practice important skills and develop robust networks of memories that connect newly acquired skills and knowledge to what students already know. In an active learning course, the teacher’s primary job is to design formative assessments that allow students to practice skills and make connections and then to use these “teachable moments” to offer feedback to steer students toward efficient and productive learning. Teachers, then, need to design authentic and relevant summative assessments where students can showcase what they have learned.
This is the third in a series of spring 2023 webinars focused on Active Learning. However, each webinar in this series stands-alone.
In a course designed within the Transmission of Knowledge paradigm of education, most of the emphasis is on summative assessment and there is often little if any focus on the formative work students do that constitutes their learning. The teacher fulfills their designated role by lecturing (transmitting knowledge) to students during class and then students are left on their own to use outside-of-class time to apply that knowledge through study and practice as they see fit. It is the teacher's job to lecture and the students’ job to learn.
In this traditional paradigm, it is also the teacher’s job to measure learning, and this is often using a few high stakes summative assessments such as exams or papers where revisions or corrections are not allowed. Webinar participants will review this standard approach to formative and summative assessment and then consider alternatives that align with the Active Learning paradigm that has been shown to increase student learning and even close or eliminate equity opportunity gaps for URM students and others.
In this webinar, we will explore how the Active Learning paradigm transforms the teacher’s role from that of the content expert and sage on the stage lecturer into a course designer and learning facilitator. In this role, a teacher’s goal is to intentionally design formative work, both in-class and out-of-class, where students practice relevant skills and then offer feedback on this formative work that drives student learning. While the formative work takes much more prominence in an Active Learning class, the design of the summative work is also quite different from a Transmission of Knowledge class. Active Learning design focuses on cumulative learning and so summative assessments generally allow or expect revisions and corrections. Further, where the Transmission of Knowledge approach sees summative assessments as ways to measure student learning, students in an Active Learning class are expected to showcase their learning; unpacking this important distinction will help participants contrast these competing paradigms.
Participants in this webinar will focus on the interplay between the daily in-class and out-of-class formative work students do, the teacher feedback they receive, and the ways students are invited to showcase what they have learned in the summative aspects of the course. We will consider several pedagogical approaches to formative and summative assessments with a focus on formats that fit within an Active Learning approach to teaching and learning.
This webinar will take an “active learning” approach so participants should expect to watch and listen but also to write, think, and communicate with the presenter and each other during the webinar. Case studies will be presented but participants are encouraged to think about and work on a course that is relevant to them during the webinar.
- Explore the Active Learning paradigm by contrasting it with the Transmission of Knowledge approach to teaching and learning.
- Consider the importance of articulating course learning outcomes before beginning to design the summative and formative aspects of the course.
- Define and review examples of formative and summative assessments.
- Explore the idea that the main roles of the teacher in an Active Learning class are to design relevant formative assessments and to offer meaningful and timely feedback to students on these assessments.
- Consider that the only way to make sufficient time for students to practice important skills through formative assessments is, probably, to cut down on lectures.
- Recognize that students learn through the right sort of practice and then challenge negative associations with “teaching to the test” by entertaining the idea that a properly designed course will use in-class and out-of-class formative work to help students “learn to the test.”
- Review the typical approaches to formative and summative assessments in the Transmission of Knowledge approach to education and then consider alternative design schemes that are more attuned to an Active Learning approach and to authentic student learning.
- K12 & 2-year & 4-year institutions
- Academic Affairs/Instruction
- Faculty (full and part-time)
- Deans of Instruction
- Department Chairs
- Online Learning Administrators
- Online Learning Faculty
- Any educator interested in learning more about formative & summative assessments for active learning
"Online discussion assignments should be something both students and faculty look forward to when they log into their online classes and/or enhance the learning of hybrid or face-to-face students. Lets make sure our online discussions are place where faculty get to teach and where students get to learn."
Eric Salahub has been at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins Colorado since 1999 where he teaches philosophy and serves as an instructional coach. In his coaching role, Eric has worked with hundreds of teachers helping them improve their craft in face-to-face, online, and hybrid classes. Over the past 10 years, Eric's main teaching and research focus is in Active Learning and he is the co-creator and director of the Active Learning Institute. In 2018 Eric was named the Colorado Community College's Outstanding Faculty and in 2019 he was awarded the Jerome Wartgow award for Excellence in Teaching with Technology.
Bio current as of April 2023
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