HealthOctober 08, 2016

Using the GPS of formative and summative assessment to guide teaching and learning

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Traditional undergraduate nursing education programs largely focus on in-class lectures as the primary vehicle for providing knowledge to students. However, many of today’s teaching experts believe that approach tends to relegate students to passive observers in their own learning experience. They recognize the importance of incorporating non-traditional methods, ensuring students graduate with the right amount of preparation for professional practice. Chickering and Gamson, in their 1987 paper Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, list some of these non-traditional practices: student-faculty contact, cooperation among students, active learning, and prompt feedback, among others.

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Traditional baccalaureate nursing education has focused on dissemination of information using lecture as a medium. This teaching-learning strategy places students as a passive observer in the classroom experience. Chickering and Gamson (1987) states that good teaching practice in undergraduate education includes: student-faculty contact, cooperation among students, active learning, prompt feedback, time on task, high expectations, and respect for the diverse talents and ways of learning of each student. Achieving these practices in a large classroom environment presents challenges to both the student and faculty. Identifying knowledge gaps from the student and faculty perspective is often a challenge. The first time that faculty or students may perceive a gap in the information taught in class often occurs after the exam. One approach to address several of these practices is using formative assessment. Wilson (2014) states that formative assessment is based on the idea that learners should learn to take control of their learning, and that intelligence is a malleable quality. Formative assessment can help students identify learning gaps prior to the summative assessment which certifies what students have learned. Through this discussion, the faculty will discuss the appropriate uses of formative and summative assessment to improve teaching and learning.

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