You know you need to redesign your assessment programme. But why is evidence on its own not enough?
Why is it so hard to help your organisation to think differently about assessment and learning?
The answers to the question "Can summative be formative?" is quite challenging: although the practical difficulties of delivering feedback in a high-stakes assessment context can be overcome, this does not mean that learners will be receptive to the feedback available to them.
Although these findings may cause discomfort, they should not be used as an excuse to maintain the status quo.
Single-shot high-stakes assessments remain inherently flawed and the results deliver a message that is at best misleading. Although many students appear unreceptive to feedback in this context, it does not invalidate the strong evidence of the powerful effects of feedback, when the conditions are right. One of the problems of feedback delivered in a high-stakes context is that there is a lack of a perceived gap between learners’ observed performance and the required standard; if students have passed a summative assessment they see this as, by definition, having reached the required minimum standard.
Whatever the challenges, the assessment culture still needs to be modified so that the undoubted benefits of feedback can be harnessed.