The Importance of Summative FeedbackArticle Date | 30 September, 2022
By Mrs Hazar Korkmazoglu, Lecturer in Business, LSST Elephant and Castle campus
The importance of feedback has been well established within the learning process (Heron, 2010). Within academia there are two types of feedback, one is formative and the second is summative feedback. At LSST, we use both formative and summative feedback to improve student learning standards. But what is the difference? In simple terms, formative feedback is provided while the assessment is in process, whereas summative feedback is provided once the assessment has been submitted (Dekker, 2018).
So, what is summative feedback, exactly?
Summative feedback is used to indicate the extent you have succeeded in meeting the module learning outcomes (QAA, 2018). It is the evaluation given to you once you have completed an assessment, which is usually at the end of the module.
Let us think of this in practice: for every module you take, you will be required to complete one or more assessments, whether this is a presentation, report, essay or exam. If you want to make sure you are on the right track when working on your assignment, you can send a draft to your lecturer for formative feedback. However, once you have submitted your assignment, the feedback provided will be summative.
Your final submission is assessed by your lecturer according to the assessment criteria and module learning outcomes, aiming to award you the deserved final grade. Along with your grade, your lecturer will provide you with comments. This summative feedback measures the skills you have gained over the entire module and determines whether or not you have met the module learning outcomes (Stanford University, n.d.). Think of this as your lecturer's justification for how you got your final grade.
Why summative feedback is important
We often just look at our final grade and do not read how or why we have achieved that grade. However, reading and reflecting on your summative feedback is very important as it allows you to:
1. Understand how far you have come in meeting the module learning outcomes
2. Understand what you have done well and what you could have done better
3. Develop your skills in how to read assessment briefs and marking criteria
4. Identify areas you need to develop before your other assessment deadlines
5. Enhance your knowledge and understanding of how you could have planned your work to meet module outcomes
Although summative feedback is final, it is very useful for you to decide what steps to take next to develop your academic journey and be more successful in your upcoming assignments. Sometimes learning from your mistakes is the best way to learn, which is why reading and understanding the summative feedback provided is essential for your development. If you would like to improve your grades, remember to make good use of the valuable resources you have here at LSST, which include your lecturers and Academic Support.
Remember, you are always recommended to send a draft to your lecturer while your assignment is still in progress, to receive formative feedback. You can find a short blog on the value of formative feedback here https://www.lsst.ac/blogs/the-value-of-formative-feedback/. The aim of formative feedback is to develop your work before your final submission, by meeting the module’s learning outcomes and other elements you may have missed out on.
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Dekker, K. (2018). ‘Effective Learning Methods: The Importance of Formative Feedback’. Available at: https://www.studiosity.com/blog/effective-learning-methods-the-importance-of-formative-feedback [Accessed 26 September 2022].
Heron, G. (2010). Examining Principles of Formative and Summative Feedback. British Journal of Social Work. ISSN 0045-3102.
QAA (2018). UK Quality Code for Higher Education, Advice and Guidance: Assessment. UKSCQA.
Splash Learn (2022). ‘What Makes Summative Assessments a Powerful Tool for Teachers’. Available at: https://www.splashlearn.com/blog/what-makes-summative-assessment-powerful-tool-for-teachers/ [Accessed 28th September 2022].
Standford University (n.d.). ‘Summative Assessment and Feedback’. Available at: https://teachingcommons.stanford.edu/explore-teaching-guides/foundations-course-design/feedback-and-assessment/summative-assessment-and [Accessed 26 September 2022].
University of Greenwich (n.d.). Formative vs Summative’. Available at: https://www.gre.ac.uk/learning-teaching/assessment/assessment/design/formative-vs-summative [Accessed 27 September 2022].