Before technology, a teacher may have approached understanding student mastery of learning by giving a pre and posttest without collecting data points in between. One could argue homework would be the data points, but this is flawed because homework is more than likely given for points even if it was to check for student understanding. Giving more assessments between pre/post meant more grading and no teacher wants to take more time doing this than absolutely necessary, so making more assessments was irrational. In essence, there was a formative and a summative and one would compare the data to determine how much growth, or mastery, took place student by student.
Technology should change how we assess students. By assess I do not mean for points to put into a gradebook, but assess as to gather information about student learning used to guide instruction while helping teachers determine who needs help and who understands the learning targets and standards. It is easy to misuse technology in the context of formative and summative assessments.
Platforms like Socrative and Kahoot! are meant to be used often with students and the data used in meaningful ways to assist the teacher in identifying who needs help and who gets it. Misuse of technology happens when teachers continue to give pre/post tests without using technology to inform instruction between the beginning and end of a unit. For instance, a teacher would give a long pretest with technology to determine which of the students understands concepts in a unit. The data comes in and the teacher interprets that portions of the unit need only be reviewed while others need to be taught in depth. So, the teacher designs the learning and engages students. A critical piece is missing, and this is the point of this post, there is no measure of what students know between the beginning and end of the unit even though technology can help a teacher do so with ease. In other words, the teacher is misusing technology by engaging in the same practices in a traditional classroom but using technologyt o replace pencil and paper.
Let me validate a notion you may have at this point. Making many formative measures takes time. I get that. I live that. However, if an educator truly wants to know where students are along a particular path of learning, then many data points have to be taken to insure the teachers knows where every single is at along that continuum.
Let's sum this up. Teachers can continue to use technology to assess students learning as if it were pencil and paper because it's not being used to gather information about student routinely. Or, teachers can use technology to gather important information about their students learning in short routine intervals to insure they understand where students are along a particular learning path. One way is status quo. One way transforms learning. Which way do you choose?