The effect of computer supported continuous formative assessment on student learning in STEM classrooms

Why do students drop out of STEM courses and majors? Issues of motivation are recognized in the literature as primary reasons students struggle in STEM courses. This dissertation establishes a connection between formative assessment and student success in STEM courses. The study begins with best practices in formative assessment as noted by experienced teachers and then proceeds to evaluate internet cloud-based methods known as Continuous Formative Assessment (CFA) in their effectiveness in dealing with a list of parameters known to be related to student motivation including; engagement, metacognition, accountability, and collaboration. As well, the effect of CFA to promote Dimension 1 of the Next Generation Science Standards is reviewed. In addition, CFA techniques are perceived to be of particular value in engaging students and informing teachers of students' level of cognition with respect to course material.