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More effective learning through (digital) formative testing


More effective learning through (digital) formative testing

When you think of testing, you often think of taking exams for the purpose of certification or certification. This is called summative testing . In addition to summative testing, we also have formative testing. Here, feedback is used to encourage the participant’s development and growth. This blog discusses the on various aspects that determine learning outcomes and the benefits of digital formative testing.


What is formative assessment?

Formative testing is prior or intermediate testing to see what components the student has or has not mastered. The goal is to shape the learning process. In this way, what has been learned can ultimately be optimally applied in practice (transfer).

Because formative tests are designed to monitor student progress, these tests are administered more frequently than a summative test. Only through regular testing will you get a good picture of the candidate’s development.

Also, with formative testing, you are not stuck with a set standard, which for many makes testing fun. For many trainers, teachers and students, this is a great benefit. In addition, formative assessment can contribute to good learning outcomes.

What aspects determine learning performance?

  • The training or education is relevant if it matches the level of the student. The latter can immediately apply the knowledge gained in the field.
  • During the training or education, the student feels increasingly competent and confident to apply what they have learned.
  • Trainees consider the training to be of good quality and have confidence in the trainer’s abilities.
  • The organization encourages that what is learned is put into practice.

The added value of formative assessment

In the first three aspects, formative assessment adds value. Three specific uses of this are: 0 measurement, practice assignments and feedback. We briefly explain these three ways, partly with examples from digital testing.

1. 0 measurement

With a 0 measurement prior to training or education, map out the candidate’s mastery level. Based on this, you can adjust the course content or change the group composition. This makes the training more likely to be relevant to the participant, and it also gives him or her more confidence to actually apply what they have learned. In addition, the candidate experiences the training as positive more quickly because it matches his or her level. See the practical example below of the effects of an 0 measurement.

Case study 0 measurement – English language training

Prior to any English language training, the student’s level is identified so that the group can be divided by level. Suppose there are four trainees, all undergoing 0 measurement. The measurement consists of speaking skills, using a digital testing system to provide film clips. The student responds to this via a webcam, after which the recordings are reviewed by the instructor.

This measurement shows that 2 participants are at B1 level and 2 are at C1 level. Based on this measurement, 2 (!) separate groups are created. This may be more expensive but very functional. With this, everyone gets the training that suits his/her level. Consequently, reviews after the training were rave and the language level of English went up like a rocket.

2. Practice assignments

Through practice assignments, students gain confidence in themselves, which can contribute positively to perceptions regarding the quality of the program. Especially in the case of skills, it pays to encourage practice. Also take the practical example below about preparing a balance sheet.

Practice example practice assignments – preparing a balance sheet

During Business Economics classes, the skill of “preparing a balance sheet” is put to the test. Through digital testing, it is possible for students to practice this. Because the practice questions are in the digital system, a new test composition is created when the exercise is repeated. This is done just until the student feels prepared. The practice questions can be self-assessed using a given sample answer. Answers are not visible until the test is completed.


3. Feedback

Formative testing tells the candidate in retrospect what level he or she has mastered. Specific areas for improvement are also made known.

When you master certain competencies, it creates self-confidence. It also gives you direction for what to do next. You know which things you have not yet mastered sufficiently and where you need to focus.

Especially digital testing, the provision of feedback can be relevant. After the test moment, the candidate hears immediately which learning objectives he/she has mastered and which he/she has not.

Why digital formative testing?

Digital testing offers more opportunities for formative testing. Typical of digital testing is the diversity of testing formats. Consider a test where a student answers questions using film and audio clips. This also allows you to identify attitudes and competencies, such as views on how best to communicate, sell something or lead.

Digital testing also facilitates testing. Consider a simple distribution of questions and the ability to provide feedback at the appropriate time.


Formative assessment adds value to increase learning outcomes and transfer, motivate participants and create even more customized education and training.

Education, training and examination within business is obviously a costly and time-intensive affair. It is important to focus these efforts while keeping participants motivated.

Especially when you combine formative testing with summative testing, it results in better exam results! Digital testing systems can be of great use for formative testing as well. It makes testing more feasible and relevant. When do you start formative assessment?

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Want to know more?

Want to learn more about effective learning through (digital) testing? Then contact us at 013 – 528 63 63 or send a contact.