Investigating the predictive utility of formative and summative assessments for academic success


Insight into which types of assessments are predictive of students’ learning achievement enables both students and educators to use assessments more efficiently to support students’ learning. In this study, we investigated whether undergraduate students’ grades on homework and in-class assignments were predictive of their grades on the midterm and final cumulative exam. The data consisted of the grades of 241 students for homework, in-class assignments, midterm and final cumulative exams. Our results showed that students’ grades for homework and in-class assignments that were completed before the midterm exam were predictive of student’s grades on the midterm exam. Alongside students’ midterm exam grades, only students’ homework grades were predictive of their performance on the final cumulative exam. While these findings suggest that students’ learning achievement in a course follows a consistent trajectory, they also suggest that some types of assessments are more useful than others to identify students who could benefit most from additional academic support and resources throughout the remaining duration of a course. Students’ grades on homework are provided much earlier and frequently to students than midterms grades, and should be used to make informed decisions relevant to students’ academic success.

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