Abstract: Formative assessment is critical for deliberate improvement, development and growth. While not entirely synonymous, assessment for learning (AFL) is an approach using formative assessment to specifically improve students' learning. While using formative assessments, AFL can also have summative programmatic-assessment implications. For each learning assessment, summative and formative uses can be leveraged; it can scaffold (formative), foster students' growth (formative), and document students' development in a competency/standard (summative). For example, using a developmental portfolio with iterative reflective-writings (formative), PharmD students showed qualitative development in the "professionalism" competency (summative; ACPE Standard 4.4). (In parallel, this development in professionalism was confirmed quantitatively.) An AFL approach can complement other assessments; it can be integrated with other summative assessments into a multi-method assessment program, wherein developmental portfolio sections could be used for a few specific competencies. While AFL is not a one-size-fits-all silver bullet approach for programmatic assessment, it is one notable robust tool to employ.
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