I think there can be formative assessment without summative assessment and vice-versa, but I can’t see why justification there’d be to a whole unit or lesson or grading period filled with formative assessments if there was no ultimate learning goal to work towards. In a perfect world there wouldn’t be summative assessment. Teachers would set a learning goal for a time frame, then, using formative assessments only, guide their students towards that goal using daily formative assessments to inform the instructional methods being used, with students using the results to guide them through their learning process. Without the specter of a summative assessment looming in the future perhaps more learning and instruction would take place. And as students reached the learning goal set for that time frame, no matter how long it took, they’d be moved to the next phase in the learning process, where they’d then start the formative learning process over again.
I think summative assessments to some degree, and the barriers set by school years and nine week grading periods to a greater degree hinder the learning process. Teachers and students are basically in a race to get through this much material by this date and they have to because they are starting the new stuff regardless. Not everybody learns at the same pace, and maybe if students would be allowed to learn at their own pace they’d actually learn more. Of course there might be thirty-year olds in the eleventh grade!
The Chappuis article did not change my views on assessments. I still think that formative assessments are more valuable to teaching and learning than summative assessments and should be used often, if not daily. If teaching and learning are the goals of the class summative assessments should only be used once a block of similar material has been completed.
The “best value” to my teaching practice would be to know exactly where my students in their learning compared to where I think they should be based on the learning goals I’ve set. If one or more of them are not there then i need to evaluate what we are doing and if changes need to be made. I also understand that not all students will be “into” what we are doing and won’t do the work but I at least want to know when that happens.
Formative assessments should be graded on a completed or not completed, or given actual grades but not weighed as much as the summative assessments. I still want my students to understand that though these aren’t the “big” grades they will be getting it is still important for them to keep up and to keep working. I think even the smallest form of grading is needed to help motivate students.