What Is The History Of Formative & Summative Evaluations

Scriven (1967) first suggested a distinction between formative evaluation and summative evaluation. Formative evaluation was intended to foster development and improvement within an ongoing activity (or person, product, program, etc.). Summative evaluation, in contrast, is used to assess whether the results of the object being evaluated (program, intervention, person, etc.) met the stated goals. For Educational Evaluations in US visit UT Evaluators

Scriven saw the need to distinguish the formative and summative roles of curriculum evaluation. While Scriven preferred summative evaluations — performing a final evaluation of the project or person, he did come to acknowledge Cronbach’s merits of formative evaluation — part of the process of curriculum development used to improve the course while it is still fluid (he believed it contributes more to the improvement of education than evaluation used to appraise a product).

Later, Misanchuk (1978) delivered a paper on the need to tighten up the definitions in order to get measurements that are more accurate . The one that seems to cause the greatest disagreement is the keeping of fluid movements or changes strictly in the prerelease versions (before it hits the target population).

In Paul Saettler’s (1990) history of instructional technology, he describes the two evaluations in the context of how they were used in developing Sesame Street and The Electric Company by the Children’s Television Workshop. CTW used formative evaluations for identify and defining program designs that could provide reliable predictors of learning for particular learners. They later used summative evaluations to prove their efforts (to quite good effect I might add). While Saettler praises CTW for a significant landmark in the technology of instructional design, he warns that it is still tentative and should be seen more as a point of departure rather than a fixed formula.

Saettler defines the two types of evaluations as: 1) formative is used to refine goals and evolve strategies for achieving goals, while 2) summative is undertaken to test the validity of a theory or determine the impact of an educational practice so that future efforts may be improved or modified.Thus, using Misanchuk’s defining terms will normally achieve more accurate measurements; however, the cost is higher as it is highly resource intensive, particularly with time because of all the pre-work that has to be performed in the design phase: create, trial, redo, trial, redo, trial, redo, etc.; and all preferably without using the target population. Educational Evaluations in US check here

However, most organizations are demanding shorter design times. Thus the formative part is moved over to the other methods, such as the use of rapid prototyping and using testing and evaluations methods to improve as one moves on. Which of course is not as accurate but it is more appropriate to most organizations as they are not really that interested in accurate measurements of the content but rather the end product — skilled and knowledgeable workers.

Misanchuk’s defining terms puts all the water in a container for accurate measurements while the typical organization estimates the volume of water running in a stream.Thus, if you are a vendor, researcher, or need highly accurate measurements you will probably define the two evaluations in the same manner as Misanchuk. If you need to push the training/learning out faster and are not all that worried about highly accurate measurements, then you define it closer to how most organizations do and how Saettler describes the CTW example.

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