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  • Writer's pictureJames Kerr

Revised Formative Assessment for CEP813

Updated: Oct 7, 2019

All teachers share the opportunity to try out a new assessment. As Teachers reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of a new assessment, changes are likely. Revision of an assessment is a process. Changes to the formative assessment posted at this site have been informed by selected readings and feedback provided by course instructors. Revisions are based on developing a clearer image of what students will learn and accomplish in this assessment.

The Revised Purpose

Revisiting the formative assessment begins by a revision of the purpose:

"Based on previous learning about multiple technological applications for

nuclear radiation, students will be assigned a specific technology to present

what they have learned. Beginning an online discussion process, students will

post a typed position statement. The position statement will demonstrate

learning focused on factual support for the point of view that will be shared.

A minimum set of three researched facts must be posted.The facts will include:

1) How nuclear radiation technology is beneficial or detrimental to humans,

2) How the use of the technology works, and 3) How the use of the technology

has evolved and is evolving. Students will demonstrate their research-based understanding of multiple applications of radiation technology by providing a minimum of three facts to support or challenge three peer-posted position statements. Comments must include: 1) Evidence for why the statement is valid

or why it should be challenged, 2) Suggested revisions to the position statement based on researched facts, 3) Evidence that shares the sources from which the facts

concerning nuclear radiation are drawn.

Pre-Assessment Activity

Students have previously viewed a segment of the PBS film documentary,“The Mystery of Matter” They have studied the history of nuclear radiation, including the contributions by Nobel Laureates: Antoine Henri Becquerel, Pierre and Marie Curie, Ernest Lawrence, Enrico Fermi, Edwin McMillan, and Glenn Seaborg. They have written a short paper about one of these scientists and shared how a selected researcher contributed to breakthroughs in the disciplines of chemistry and physics. They learned about Alpha, Beta, and Gamma radiation associated with the decay of unstable isotopes. Just prior to this assessment, students have been researching contemporary applications of radiation technology and researchers associated with these technologies.

Post- Assessment Plan

The final goal in this unit will be to introduce students to individuals who have chosen to pursue careers in nuclear physics. Students will locate and interview a professional who is researching and/ or applying nuclear technologies in medical research, food processing, military settings or other application of radiation. Following this primary research, the students will prepare a Google Slides presentation for their classmates to showcase the professional's contribution to radiation technology. The primary research will help students to understand how researchers tie the clinical understanding of radiation to applications in current technologies.

Rationale for Revisions to the Formative Assessment

The purpose for this assessment has been redefined to address specific goals. Wiggins and McTighe (2005) define the importance of clear goals for an assessment,“...we must be able to state with clarity what the student should understand and be able to do as a result of any plan, and irrespective of any constraints we face” (p.14). A rubric that outlines how the assessment will evaluated has been added at the beginning of the assessment.


In addition to informal and ongoing teacher feedback throughout the assessment process, a rubric to help students with self-regulation and reflection has been added. This rubric and also a separate rubric to help students to reflect on how they will choose to support or challenge peer statements has also been added to the assessment. These changes were influenced by the research paper posited by Nicol and McFarlane-Dick (2006 p.199) which states that “ practice self-regulation is manifested in the active monitoring and regulation of a number of different learning processes, e.g., the setting of, and orientation towards learning goals; the strategies used to achieve goals, the management of resources, the effort exerted: reactions to external feedback, the products produced.

The addition of the rubrics was also influenced by by the work of Van den Bergh, Ros, and Beijaard (2013 p. 343) who quote (Elshout, 2000; Simons, Van der Linden, & Duffy, 2000) concerning the importance of self-regulation: ”When students become more responsible for their own learning they need to know how to regulate their own learning processes.” Nicol and Mcfarlane-Dick (2006 p. 209) further quote the work of Gibbs and Simpson (2004),”They have shown that if students receive feedback often and regularly, it enables better monitoring and self-regulation of progress."

Finally, the importance of timely feedback is addressed. Students learn not only by verbally explaining the assessment goals, but also by sharing written responses as they progress through the assessment. The addition of the self reflection and peer reflection rubrics were also influenced by the research on timely feedback by Nicol and Mcfarlane-Dick (2006 p. 209) who further quote the work of Gibbs and Simpson (2004), ”They have shown that if students receive feedback often and regularly, it enables better monitoring and self-regulation of progress by students. The addition of the two rubrics affords students a greater potential to utilize timely feedback as they progress through the assessment process.


Elshout, J. J. (2000). Constructivisme en cognitieve psychologie [Constructivism and cognitive psychology]. Pedagogische Studi ̈en, 77, 134–138.

Simons, P. R. J., Linden, J. L., van der, & Duffy, T. M. (Eds.) (2000). New learning. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Gibbs, G & Simpson, C. (2004) Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning? Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1, 3–31.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112.

Nicol, D., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199–218

Simons, P. R. J., Linden, J. L., van der, & Duffy, T. M. (Eds.) (2000). New learning. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

van den Berghe, L., Ros, A., & Beijaard, D. (2013). Teacher feedback during active learning: Current practices in primary schools. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 341- 362. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8279.2012.02073.x,

Wiggins,G and McTighe, J., 2005, Understanding by Design, Alexandria, VA. Association

for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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