In my school, we have to produce a report for each pupil each term. These reports have a grade for behaviour, attitude to learning (so far so good), and predicted grade.

When I was at University studying to be a teacher, we learnt that summative feedback leads to poorer outcomes and formative feedback leads to good outcomes. (See Carol Dweck's TED talk for an introduction on this.) I even read one study that shows that summative feedback undoes the good of formative feedback.

Therefore, I want to find a way to do this, that:

  • Is accurate (though not necessarily precise)
  • Does not disturb the kids from learning too much
  • And, more importantly, is quick and requires little effort

2 Answers 2


I've always admired the Swiss' education system of teaching kids where they rarely have examinations, but rather through constructive assignments and homeworks to teach students. At a conference I've attended, I heard a quick introduction on gamification of education and I am trying this out with some students.

Here is what I proposed:

  • Assesments (excluding exams and final project, due to curriculum and school board constraints) have unlimited re-tests, limited to once a week.
  • 0.5 credit is awarded for 50%+ and 1.0 credit is awarded for 80%+
  • At the end of the term, their number of credit earned is divded by total number of credits for a "term work" grade worth x% of their final mark
  • The goal here is for students to not worry about a 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 or 100, but rather track their progress through completion of content. I believe the unlimited retries gives incentive for students who are falling behind to realize early and catch up immediately, rather than later. This is to avoid the mentality of giving up because it is "too late" or "wait for next test".
  • To some degree, I believe in the innate competitive nature of CS students transferred from love for gaming

    I believe this method (with modification to suit your needs) meets what you are looking for.

  • Accurate enough to give a % mark because you track progression. Although I foresee multiple 100% with this method
  • Does not disturb students because they are well aware of their progress, and know they can make improvements rather than blankly stare at an unfortunate poor test 1
  • Quick and low effort - I just use an excel macro and export to show my class after each week their progress

  • $\endgroup$

    I can't find any indication that summative feedback undoes the good of formative feedback. Where did you see that study? In any case, there is a good summary of strong, replicated findings about summative testing here.

    The great good of formative assessment is that it provides an actionable point of reflection for students. They can see how they are doing, and they can see how to improve their performance going forward. The term reports you mention sound like a great tool for that first criterion. What is missing is something along the lines of and here's how the student can do [even] better going forward.

    If I could, I would add this little something to grow on into each Term Report. To be most effective, these items should be directly actionable, not merely general. (e.g. "Study for a make-up for ____ and do a very careful job on our upcoming project" instead of "Have a better attitude and respect fellow students".)


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