Providing Effective Formative Assessment Practices to Trainee Design Engineers
It has been widely accepted that the use of formative assessment practices enhances the students’ learning. Recently, Cizek  referred formative assessment as a collaborative processes engaged in by educators and students for the purpose of understanding the students’ learning and conceptual organization, identification of strengths, diagnosis of weaknesses, areas for improvement, and as a source of information that teachers can use in instructional planning and students can use in deepening their understandings and improving their achievement.
Presently, there seems to have some ambiguities as to what constitute an effective formative assessment. For instance, Shepard  produced a list of key characteristics of formative assessment. However, Cizek  argued that “not all of the characteristics must be present for an assessment to be considered formative and not all of the characteristics have to be combined in any particular application of formative assessment”. Currently, there are bountiful literatures on formative assessment, and its related areas on feedback practices and assessment design. However it is less clear on the types of characteristics that will constitute an effective formative assessment. This paper attempts to identify the minimum characteristics of formative assessment to be effective in terms of assessment feedback, assessment standards and student self assessment when implement in a training context of training new design engineers.
Ramaprasad  had defined feedback as information about the gap between the actual level and the reference level of a system parameter which is used to alter the gap in some way. From the meta-analysis conducted by Black and Wilam , it had revealed that feedback had produced significant benefits in learning across all content areas, knowledge and skill types, and levels of education. Sadler  had commented that for feedback to be effective, the control loop has to be closed using the information to change the outcome by a teacher. Sadler further identified three essential conditions for students to benefit from feedback.
1. Student must understand what good performance is. (i.e. the student must possess a concept of the goal or standard being aimed for);
2. Student must understand how current performance relates to good performance (for this, the student must be able to compare current and good performance); and
3. Student must understand how to act to close the gap between current and good performance.
Nicol et al.  had defined good feedback practice as anything that might strengthen the student’s capacity to self-regulate their own performance. They further listed the 7 principles of good feedback practices in which this paper is adopting in a training context of training new design engineers.
Good feedback practice:
1. helps clarify what good performance is (goals,...