How appropriate: tomorrow I am going to give my intern a little more training on grading versus feedback!
I consider myself a stickler for giving meaningful feedback. This is what drives my planning, instruction, and student assessment. Students need regular, meaningful feedback in order to fill gaps in their learning before the summative assessment. I kind of laugh and the term “summative assessment”, though. Even my summative assessments are “graded” by marking what students can do, and then providing feedback on how they can improve more.
In foreign languages, you can learn, assess, then forget. We are on a constant continuum, building upon the past experiences toward the next proficiency level. Other courses can say that they do that as well, but you simply cannot move forward in second language proficiency if you have not truly acquired what was “taught” before.
When I assess my students, formatively or summatively, I like to give them this Proficiency feedback form. It shows how they have proven their current level of proficiency (or what indicators exist that may show they are on that level), and how to move on to the next level.
Wish me luck in being able to pass along this information to my excellent, young intern!