Closing the loop: identifying effective formative assessment practices and feedback processes that empower the learner and enhance the student experience in open and distance learning
Dr Stylianos Hatzipanagos, King’s Institute of Learning and Teaching, Kings College London
Professor Paul Black, Emeritus Professor, Department of Education, KCL
Dr Ana Lucena, Institute of Education
Professor Bob McCormick, Department of Education, Open University
Dr Steven Warburton, School of Law, KCL
The focus of the project was on formative assessment (FA), i.e. assessment that yields information which can be used by tutors and students “to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged” (Black & Wiliam, 1998a, p. 2). It explored assessment practices in distance education with a focus on tutors’ orientations. The concept of orientation used in this research was used to describe a pattern of beliefs that stems from tutors’ assessment practices and their explanations of those practices (based on Samuelowicz & Bain, 2002). The project also investigated whether and how tutors’ ideas about FA are reflected in their feedback practices. A comparative study was used to explore policy, teaching practices and practitioner views in three Open and Distributed Learning (ODL) environments: UoL (external programmes); King’s College London (ODL programmes); and the Open University.
The project investigated whether assessment activities in such environments are used to improve dialogue, interaction and collaborative work and consequently improve student learning. It also investigated whether practitioner attitudes to formative assessment depended on the context in which they operated and whether they were discipline‐specific. The aim was to encourage the cross‐fertilisation of assessment practices between different learning environments, where summative assessment sometimes dominates.