Formative assessment: An illustrative example using "Alice"

Ashlyn Hutchinson, Barbara Moskal, Wanda Dann, Stephen Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


There are two primary phases of assessment: formative and summative. The formative phase of assessment focuses upon improving the study's design, methodologies and evaluations as the study is being implemented. Summative assessment, on the other hand, is used to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the research intervention. The appropriateness of the conclusions that are drawn during the summative phase is partially dependent on the formative phase. Difficulties that arise with respect to data collection and faulty instruments damage the validity of a study's final results. These problems can be rectified during the formative phase by carefully selecting and/or creating assessment instruments and conducting a pilot investigation before summative data is collected. This paper illustrates the formative phase of assessment and how the information collected during the formative phase was used to improve the design of a study that investigated an innovative approach to teaching introductory computer science. This work was supported in part by NSF-03020542.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6521-6527
Number of pages7
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2005
Event2005 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: The Changing Landscape of Engineering and Technology Education in a Global World - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2005Jun 15 2005


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