The Role of Formative and Summative and Summative Evaluation in Curriculum Development

What is the role of Formative and Summative Evaluations in the Curriculum Development Process?
 The major stages in the curriculum development cycle used by most curriculum development centers in Africa include; policy decision, conceptualization, planning, developing of instructional materials, the pilot or try out, curriculum implementation and quality control stages. Out of the seven stages listed, there is an activity of evaluation from the planning stage to the quality control. This demonstrates the significance of evaluation in the process of curriculum development.
 Evaluation is the process of examining a program or process to determine what’s working, what’s not, and why. Evaluation determines the value of programs and acts as blueprints for judgment and improvement, (Rossett & Sheldon, 2001).
 There are many forms of evaluations in different fields. However, some scholars categorize these evaluations into two broad categories: formative and summative evaluation.
 Formative evaluation (sometimes referred to as internal) is a method of judging the worth of a program while the program activities are forming (in progress). This part of the evaluation focuses on the process.
 The role formative evaluation plays in the real society is basically to permit the curriculum developers, learners, and instructors to monitor how well the instructional goals and objectives are being met. Its main purpose is to catch deficiencies so that appropriate interventions are placed in at every level of the process. For instance at the planning stage, formative evaluations of curriculum designs and syllabuses help developers take important decisions before the documents are used for developing of instructional materials.
 Formative evaluation is particularly useful in analyzing learning materials, student learning and achievements, and teacher effectiveness…. Formative evaluation is primarily a building process which accumulates a series of components of new materials, skills, and problems into an ultimate meaningful whole, (Wally Guyot, 1978).
 The summative evaluation (sometimes referred to as external) is a method of judging the worth of a program at the end of the program activities (summation). The focus is on the outcome. That is at every stage of curriculum development there must be a summative evaluation to judge the worth of the out come of that stage. For example the stage of piloting the curriculum, the process is evaluated at the end of the cycle to decide whether it had met the set standards. All assessments can be summative (i.e., have the potential to serve a summative function), but only some have the additional capability of serving formative functions, (Scriven 1967).
 Scriven (1967) suggests that Formative evaluation is 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 stated goals. Saettler concludes that formative evaluation is used to refine goals and evolve strategies for achieving goals, while summative evaluation 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.
 Both formative and summative evaluation activities help in the refinery of the product of the curriculum development process as the activities provide feedback to curriculum developers to help them take collective decisions for perceived deficiencies.
References
Rossett, Allison & Sheldon, Kendra (2001). Beyond the Podium: Delivering Training and Performance to a Digital World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer
Saettler, Paul (1990). The Evolution of American Educational Technology. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., p. 350.
Scriven, M. (1967). The methodology of evaluation. In R. W. Tyler, R. M. Gagne, & M. Scriven (Eds.), Perspectives of curriculum evaluation, 39-83. Chicago, IL: Rand McNally.
http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/sat.html Formative and Summative evaluations

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