Summative and formative assessments explained

Formative assessment

Your student will know the final date of submission for the Practice Assessment Document. Once you have this information you can discuss with the student a suitable and appropriate date (a halfway point on their placement) to begin the assessment process.

The purpose of the Formative Assessment is to discuss progress up to and including that point in time. It is a valuable opportunity to explore Clinical Skills or Interpersonal Skills that have been achieved or are being worked towards to be deemed, in your professional opinion, as competent to pass. It is also a valuable opportunity to explore as part of an honest discussion, which skills need development.

It cannot be stressed enough how important the formative assessment is. It should be organised well in advance to ensure that both you and the student have the opportunity, within the correct environment, to reflect and offer opinion on how things are progressing during the placement. It may be necessary to involve a member of the Link Lecturing Team for support or guidance if you or the student need particular support.

Please note that formative assessment should be undertaken near to half way through that particular placement. Any concerns of absence, late time keeping or prolonged sickness must be reported immediately to the Practice Team / Personal Tutor or a member of the Link Lecturing Team.

Students should be encouraged to reflect on their own progress before you undertake the formative assessment as this will offer topics for discussion.

Summative assessment

The term summative is used to describe the final assessment. Before a summative or final assessment can be done, it is imperative that the student has had a formative assessment. If there have been any concerns at the time of the formative assessment, that have required you both to form an action plan, then there should have been evidence of this discussion made at the time of the formative assessment. If you have highlighted any concerns then you now have the opportunity to review those.

We encourage you to seek support from a member of your local Link Lecturing Team or the Education Champion if you feel that, despite having an action plan in place, the student is likely to fail any element of their practice experience.

Despite all best efforts not all students can pass their practice experience and your role is to act as a professional gatekeeper to uphold professional standards. We are aware of the turmoil and anxiety that may surround the support of a failing student. We would hope that you will use the level of support that we offer you as well.

It is important to recognise where progress has been made and which elements a student can take confidence from and feel a sense of achievement. You may feel that although a student has passed a particular element of the assessment, you would like to suggest areas where and how they could develop their technique or skill.

Interpersonal and Professional Skills Profile
The addition of this element of assessment has proved to be an invaluable tool for the mentor and student relationship.

Using this element of assessment can be difficult as you may need to seek comments or opinions from fellow colleagues about the performance of your student. However, when used effectively, it can be liberating for the student and mentor as it breaks down barriers and can open communication and the opportunities for improvement.

It is also of great value to the student if you can offer praise and positive reinforcement at the summative stage especially if there has been an improvement in performance. Students will learn from your leadership and direction what management of learning means in the practice setting and may role model your style or approach and look to develop their own skills at a later date.