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Cover Letter To Whom It May Concern Formative And Summative Assessment

You’ve found the perfect job and finally sat down to write that cover letter (good for you!), but immediately you’ve run into a roadblock. How do you even start the darn thing? Should you use Mr. or Ms.? Do you include a first name? And what if you’ve searched high and low, but can’t find the hiring manager’s name?

Don’t fret! Follow these rules for cover letter salutation salvation.

Rule #1: Use a Formal Full Name Salutation

Unless you know for sure that the culture of the company is more casual, use the hiring manager’s first and last name, including a “Mr.” or “Ms.” (e.g., Mr. Jack Smith).

Most letters I see still use the “Dear” greeting, though I’ve seen a growing trend of people dropping it and starting with “Hello” or just the name. Either way works. The most important part is having the actual name. Never use “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear or Sir or Madam”—nothing could be more generic (not to mention archaic). Your cover letter could be the first opportunity you have to make an impression on the hiring manager, so make sure you show that you did your company research.

One note of caution, if you can’t decipher whether to use “Mr.” or “Ms.” based on the name and a little Google stalking (and you don’t have an easy way out with a “Dr.”), just drop the title.

Rule #2: If You Don’t Know the Hiring Manager, Guess

Sometimes, even after hours of online searching (try these tips), you still might not be able to definitively figure out who exactly the hiring manager for the position you’re applying for is—and that’s OK.

If you can only find a list of the executives of the company and you’re not completely confident who the hiring manager is, use the head of the department for the position you’re applying for. In the end, no one will fault you for addressing the letter higher up than necessary. This approach is definitely better than not using a name in your cover letter, because it still shows the time and effort you took to find out who the department head is.

...why not make it easier on yourself?

Speak to a Cover Letter Coach Today

Rule #3: Be as Specific as Possible

So, you’ve done your due diligence and after an exhaustive search—nothing. You just can’t find a single name to address your cover letter to. If that’s the case, don’t worry. The company is likely privately held with no reason to share who its employees are—and, more importantly, is aware of this.

If this is the case and you don’t have a name to use, try to still be as specific as possible in your greeting. Consider using “Senior Analyst Hiring Manager” or “Research Manager Search Committee”—something that shows that you’ve written this letter with a particular audience in mind.

Ultimately, you want your cover letter to convey your interest in the position. To start off on the right note, get the salutation right by being as specific as possible—ideally with the name of the hiring manager. Of course, that can’t always happen, but as long as the effort is clearly made, you’ll be starting your cover letter in the right place.

summative assessment and considers how inherent tensions between the different purposes of assessment may be mitigated.


The range of understanding and skill called for in the Standards acknowledges the complexity of what it means to know, to understand, and to be able to do in science. Science is not solely a collection of facts, nor is it primarily a package of procedural skills. Content understanding includes making connections among various concepts with which scientists work, then using that information in specific context. Scientific problem-solving skills and procedural knowledge require working with ideas, data, and equipment in an environment conducive to investigation and experimentation. Inquiry, a central component of the Standards, involves asking questions, planning, designing and conducting experiments, analyzing and interpreting data, and drawing conclusions.

If the Standards are to be realized, summative as well as formative assessment must change to encompass these goals. Assessment for a summative purpose (for example, grading, placement, and accountability) should provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate conceptual understanding of the important ideas of science, to use scientific tools and processes, to apply their understanding of these important ideas to solve new problems, and to draw on what they have learned to explain new phenomena, think critically, and make informed decisions (NRC, 1996). The various dimensions of knowing in science will require equally varied assessment strategies, as different types of assessments capture different aspects of learning and achievement (Baxter & Glaser, 1998; Baxter & Shavelson, 1994; Herman, Gearhart, & Baker, 1993; Ruiz-Primo & Shavelson, 1996; Shavelson, Baxter, & Pine, 1991; Shavelson & Ruiz-Primo, 1999).


As teachers fulfill their different roles as assessors, tensions between formative and summative purposes of assessment can be significant (Bol and Strange, 1996). However, teachers often are in the position of being able to tailor assessments for both summative and formative purposes.

Performance Assessments

Any activity undertaken by a student provides an opportunity for an assessment of the student's performance. Performance assessment often implies a more formal assessment of a student as he or she engages in a performance-

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