Measurement for Learning
Summative and Formative Assessments
5 Key Strategies
- Clarifying, Understanding and Sharing Learning Intentions
- Engineering Effective Classroom Discussions, Tasks, and Activities That Elicit Evidence of Learning
- Provide Effect Feedback to Move Students Forward
- Activating Students as Learning Resources for Each Other
- Activating Students as Owners of Their Learning
The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.
Summative assessments are often high stakes, which means that they have a high point value. Examples of summative assessments include:
- a midterm exam
- a final project
- a paper
- a senior recital
Information from summative assessments can be used formatively when students or faculty use it to guide their efforts and activities in subsequent courses.
When evaluating the arts, it is not easy to do so through written forms of assessment. Recitals are a wonderful method of determining a student's level of acquired skill and knowledge in the arts.
This can be anything from a written assignment, to poster, to a journaling assignment. This is a great way to evaluate a student's ability to perform a specific task and to create an effective artifact for evaluation.
An exam is a test that comes at the end of a unit. It can also be considered a form of benchmark that proves there was progress and learning. It measures the overall effectiveness of the curriculum and is a great indicator of how prepared the student is for the summative assessment.
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. More specifically, formative assessments:
- help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work
- help faculty recognize where students are struggling and address problems immediately
Formative assessments are generally low stakes, which means that they have low or no point value. Examples of formative assessments include asking students to:
- draw a concept map in class to represent their understanding of a topic
- submit one or two sentences identifying the main point of a lecture
- turn in a research proposal for early feedback