Understanding Formative and Summative Assessments
The assessment of teaching and
learning can be viewed as overlapping activities within the instruction of
students. Assessment is the process of gathering data. More
specifically, assessment is the ways instructors gather data about their
teaching and their students’ learning.
You can see the difference between formative and summative assessments
in their names. A formative assessment assists the teacher in forming new
lessons, while a summative assessment comes at the end of a lesson, semester or
year for a summary of what the student has learned.
The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student
learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to
improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning.
Formative assessments are generally low stakes, and can
be a very quick assessment of whether the child has learned the content.
Examples of formative
assessments include asking students to:
The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning
at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against standards and/or
Rubrics, often developed around a set of
standards or expectations, can be used for summative assessment.
Summative assessments are often high stakes, which means
that they have a high point value.
Typically, no more formal learning is
taking place at this stage, other than incidental learning which might take
place through the completion of projects and assignments.
is characterized as assessment of learning and is contrasted with
formative assessment, which is assessment for learning.
Examples of summative
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