Conceptualization of Assessment as a Formative System in Teaching and Learning: A Cybernetic Model

Yaping CHEN, Rongping CAO


A cybernetic model of assessment and learning is proposed. The basic proposition is that all assessment could be viewed as formative in learning, which has two implications: 1) assessment is a complex subsystem of learning, which is also a complex system by itself, as articulated in cybernetics; 2) this assessment subsystem has a formative nature in that regardless of its forms and approaches, it controls or regulates the learner’s learning by influencing his/her decision-making in learn recognition of assessment as a controlling or modeling system in learning may also help clarify the relationships between assessment and other subsystems in learning.


Assessment; Formative; Cybernetics; Control system; China’s EFL teaching and learning

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