Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Two Different Meanings of “Formative Evaluation” #2

Some blog followers might be interested in a discussion list post “Two Different Meanings of ‘Formative Evaluation’ #2” [Hake (2014)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In response to my post “FairTest Appears To Be Uninformed on ‘Formative Evaluation’ In The JCSEE Sense” at, Michael Paul Goldenberg and FairTest’s Monty Neil posted what appeared to be non sequitures on EDDRA2, symptomatic of the general failure of educators to recognize the existence of two very different meanings of “Formative Evaluation”:

(1) “Evaluation designed and used to improve
an intervention, especially when it is still being
developed” – JCSEE (1994) as copied on p. 132
of Frechtling et al. (2010) at . .(FE-JCSEE)

(2) “All those activities undertaken to provide
information to be used as feedback so as to adapt
the teaching to meet student needs” – paraphrased
from Black & Wiliam (1998, p. 2)
at . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (FE-B&W)

An example of FE-JCSEE is zero-stakes pre/post testing utilizing Concept Inventories which are constructed by disciplinary experts through arduous qualitative and quantitative research– see e.g.: (a) “The Impact of Concept Inventories on Physics Education and Its Relevance for Engineering Education” [Hake (2011)]at (8.7 MB), and (b) “Can the Cognitive Impact of Calculus Courses be Enhanced?” [Hake (2013)] at (2.7 MB).

An example of FE-B&W is its use in the “interactive engagement” (IE) methods that have been shown –Hake (1998a) at and many others to achieve average normalized gains g(ave) on Concept Inventories that are about two standard deviations above those of traditional passive-student lecture courses. Here IE methods are defined [Hake 1998a)] as: “methods designed to promote conceptual understanding through the active engagement of students in heads-on (always) and hands-on (usually) activities that yield immediate feedback through discussion with peers and/or instructors.”

To access the complete 90 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University; Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands; President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII); LINKS TO: Academia; Articles; Blog; Facebook; GooglePlus; Google Scholar; Linked In; Research Gate; Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs; Twitter

“There is substantial evidence that scientific teaching in the sciences, i.e., teaching that employs instructional strategies that encourage undergraduates to become actively engaged in their own learning, can produce levels of understanding, retention and transfer of knowledge that are greater than those resulting from traditional lecture/lab classes. But widespread acceptance by university faculty of new pedagogies and curricular materials still lies in the future.” - Robert DeHaan (2005)

REFERENCES [URLs shortened by and accessed on 29 Jan 2014.]
Hake, R.R. 2014. “Two Different Meanings of 'Formative Evaluation' #2” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

DeHaan, R.L. 2005. “The Impending Revolution in Undergraduate Science Education,” Journal of Science Education and Technology 14(2): 253-269; online as a 152 kB pdf at

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