Assessment for Learning

Formative and Summative Assessments

Assessment for Learning

Assessment for learning is assessments designed primarily to promote learning. Early drafts, first tries, and practice assignments are examples of assessments for learning. The assessment is designed to help guide the teaching and learning process.

Formative Assessments and Summative Assessments

Formative assessments are used to inform future practice. It's goal is to improve teaching and learning. An assssment is is considered formative when it's information is fed back into the system and improves performance in some way. It is given during the instructional process and is immediately used to make adjustments to form new learning ( Newman, R., 2013). Formative assessment occurs both before and during instruction. The purpose is to guide teachers in planning and preparing the lesson and improving student learning.


Example- read a page of a story not allowing students to see the illustration. Have each student create a visualization (illustration) for that page.

Example-each student or groups of students has a mini-whiteboard. As they work through problems, they can share them with you as a class, or you can walk around the classroom and see their work


Summative assessments are used to evaluate student learning, skill acquisition, and academic achievement at the conclusion of a defined instructional period, end of project, unit, course, semester, or school year. The tests, assignments, or projects are used to determine whether students have learned what they were expected to learn. Summative assessment results are often recorded as scores or grades that are then factored into a student's permanent academic record, whether they end up as letter grades on a report card or test scores used in the college admissions process.

Example-Standardized tests

End of term or semester tests

End of chapter test

Formative and Summative Assessment Implemented to Create an Effective Classroom Environment

As teachers gather information/data about student learning, several categories may be included. To better understand student learning teachers need to consider information about the products students create and tests they take, observational notes and reflections on the communication that occurs between teacher and student or among students. When a comprehensive assessment program at the classroom level balances formative and summative student learning/achievement information, a clear picture emerges of where a student is relative to learning targets and standards. Students should be able to articulate this shared information about their own learning. When this happens, student led conferences, a formative assessment strategy. are valid. The more we know about individual students as they engage in the learning process, the better we can adjust instruction to ensure that all students continue to achieve by moving forward in their learning. In a balanced assessment system, both summative and formative assessments are an integral part of information gathering. Depend too much on one or the other and the reality of student achievement in your classroom becomes unclear.

Five Key Strategies

1. Clarifying, understanding, and Sharing Learning Intentions- Students should clearly understand learning objectives and criteria upon which they will be evaluated.

2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, tasks and activities that elicit of learning-Teachers should find ways to frequently check for understanding so that teaching can be adapted accordingly.

3. Providing feedback that moves learners’ forward- When providing feedback to students, comments should be specific, constructive and actionable.

4. Activating students as learning resources for one another-Encourage collaborative learning opportunities such as project based group work and peer assessment that allow students to learn from each other.

5. Activating students as owners of their own learning-By giving students the opportunity for self-assessment, you are allowing them to take the responsibility and ownership of their own learning, making it more meaningful and increasing engagement.

Formative and Summative Assessments