Integrating the Formative and Summative Post Covid-19 in a Blended Learning Approach to Higher Educational Assessment

Challenges and Opportunities


  • Sharon Hartle University of Verona



summative assessment, formative assessment, Blended Learning, Covid-19, principled learning and assessment design


The response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe, reflecting a general move towards remote working, has been overwhelmingly one of turning to Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) described as a “temporary solution to an immediate problem” (Bozkurt and Sharma 2020, ii). ERT is often seen from a negative viewpoint, linked to a reactive approach to teaching (Golden 2020; Murphy 2020) with a lack of planning or expertise. This means of delivery, however, has also taught us many lessons, some of which may provide us with new opportunities and ways of working in the future (Hodges et al. 2020; Hartle 2020; Thomas et al. 2021). When considering the assessment of language competence one of these lessons is that formative assessment is more appropriate to asynchronous, online contexts and summative assessment is suited rather to the synchronous, face to face spaces. In Higher Education (HE) contexts in the past summative assessment has generally been conducted in person, in a physical context because of concerns related to exam security (Nusche 2008; Pachler et al. 2010). The challenge now, where online teaching is increasingly becoming part and parcel of the educational repertoire, however, is to integrate both the formative and the summative in a new form of blended learning (BL) for the future. This is a future where the approach to teaching in online digital contexts both synchronously and asynchronously will no longer be ERT but a principled, planned approach to combining the digital with the traditional. 


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