An essay, and therefore all assignments should be for the purposes of learning. To help the tutor, even your peers, to see where your thinking has reached and add to and correct as necessary. Assessment should be the end of module dissertation or written exam.
What do you think?
Doesn't it work both ways? When I write assignments I'm consolidating my learning, trying to make sense of points I'm weak on, while allowing my tutor to see if I've totally got the wrong idea and point me in the right direction?
If we moved straight from formative to summative might we not miss where the bulk of the learning is actually happening?
It must depend on the context - what can or cannot be achieved given the presence of students and tutors, and the traditions and beliefs of the institution. And of couse the personality and favoured learning habits of the student! Discussion is key and an essay is a catalyst for this where shared - our assignments are not shared, they are examinations, they are assessed and the marks count towards the end result. Personally it takes me three years to begin to master a subject well enough to feel I can be examined, otherwise, early modules attest to what I did not know. Repeated assessment produces shallow and disrupted learning.