E-learning is never complete without a proper assessment of what is learned. In my previous blog, I had mentioned in brief about the elearning assessments and the various type of elearning assessments. To know more about the tips to design assessments please refer to our video on pre assessments in e-learning.

As a continuation to the blog, let us see about the summative assessments in more detail.

Ebel and Frisbie (1991) observed that the terms ‘formative and ‘summative’ were introduced by Scriven(1967) to describe the various roles of evaluation in curriculum development and instruction. Ebel and Frisbie defined ‘summative assessment’ as assessment conducted at the end of instruction to determine if learning is complete enough to warrant moving the learners to the next segment of instruction.

A summative assessment is usually administered at the end of an e-learning course and provides learners with a final grade or points etc. The criteria fixed by the organisation will then decide if the learner has achieved the desired level of proficiency or if he/ she has passed the test. This criterion is usually set within the e-learning course as well as reporting of the same is monitored through the LMS.

In the world of e-learning, different styles or types of assessments are used to assess the performance of the learners. These assessments can be Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), drag and drop, hotspots etc. While implementing e-learning assessments, the organisation should ensure that the objectives of the learning are closely aligned to the assessments.

For example, if the learning objective is to build an awareness about a certain topic then the assessments should be about “what”, “why” and “how” of it. These kinds of tasks, actions or assessments will reveal whether the learners have achieved the learning objectives.

Tips To Use Summative Assessments in E-Learning

1. Prepare your learners for summative assessments

Before using the summative assessments in e-learning, make sure that the learners are updated and informed about what it will cover and how it will be graded. This helps the learners to prepare for the assessments.

2.Use the results effectively to grade the learners

Summative assessments conducted during the end of the e-learning helps the organisation to grade the learners according to the criteria that are already set.  This helps the organization to identify the trend as well as the learning gap if any and bridge it accordingly.

3.Use the proper mix of summative assessments

We should never forget that every learner is unique and hence the way of thinking, the learning need and ability can also differ. Hence  I recommend using a mix of summative assessments types. While the common type of summative assessments is usually the multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks etc. The organisations can also try using the other assessment types like interactive assessments, such as scenarios or simulations etc.

4.Creating a positive learning environment for learners

The summative assessments should foster a positive learning environment and strengthen the confidence of learners to develop their skills and qualities.

‘Don’t ask what the technology can do for you, rather what the pedagogy needs.’
This statement by Gilly Salmon, Professor of e-Learning and Learning Technologies, University of Leicester wonderfully sums up the power of e-learning assessments. So summative assessments in e-learning have to be properly designed so that they seamlessly integrate with the pedagogy of learning. To know more about how to design interactive assessments, please refer to the following YouTube videos: