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Formative Assessment – What, Why, When?

Group of students at a table

Formative assessment is now often seen as ‘assessment for learning’ rather than ‘assessment of learning’. ¬†So how do we get students to engage with ongoing, formative assessment?¬† Usually students want to prioritise the big, final assessments.¬† They will not always prioritise the smaller activities that test their learning along the way if these do not ‘count’ towards their final score.

In this Coffee Course we will look at the different types of formative assessment; how they relate to the¬† final or summative assessments; contemporary developments in ‘assessment for learning’; and some of the challenges and issues experienced by tertiary educators.

We hope you will join in the discussion, to share your knowledge, and take a look at some models and examples of different approaches and tools.


This course will run from Monday 17 February to Friday 21 February 2020. There will be five blog posts, one per day, that will take about 15-20 minutes to work through. You are welcome to work through the course at your own pace, any time.



Day 1: What do we mean by ‚Äėformative assessment‚Äô?

Day 2: Feedback and self-regulation in learning

Day 3: Ideas and Models

Day 4: Formative assessment in lifelong learning

Day 5: Issues and Challenges


All are welcome

We welcome all staff, including tutors, demonstrators, professional staff, and academics at the Australian National University and beyond to join us for this course.


How to participate

The entire course will be conducted online, at your own pace through this blog. We encourage you to make a cup of coffee or tea and work through the material. Each post includes an activity or discussion question for you to respond to in the comment section of the blog.

Be sure to subscribe¬†to the blog (scroll down to the bottom, enter your email address and¬†click on the red¬†Subscribe¬†button).¬†If you use an RSS reader you can¬†subscribe to the blog feed¬†as well. You’ll receive an email each time a new post is made, and you can unsubscribe at any time.



Jill Lyall Jill Lyall has a background in social sciences, community services, and adult education.  Jill has worked for many years in Vocational Education and Training in a TAFE environment in Western Australia.  During that time she developed an interest in technology for learning, and developed her skills for online learning. Since early 2015, Jill has been working with ANU Online, creating online materials for post-graduate courses and support and training resources in technology enhanced learning for academics at ANU.




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