Formative & Summative Assessments

By: Haylee Deuth

What is a Summative Assessment?

Summative assessments are given periodically in order to determine what students do and do not know at a certain point.

Summative Examples:

  • state assessments
  • end of unit chapter tests
  • semester exams

Why are they important?

They are used for district programs and teachers also use the data in order to change their teaching methods.

What is a formative assessment?

A formative assessment provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are happening.

Formative Examples:

  • Observation of students
  • Exit tickets
  • Homework
  • One-minute papers
  • Concept mapping
  • Problem solving pairs
  • Discussion

Why are they important?

Formative assessments are important because they provide an engaging way for students to practice skills and concepts they need to understand. It also gives students a way to assess how they are doing and set goals for themselves.

Summative vs. Formative

While Formative testing provides engaging practice, the downsides are that it can be very time consuming and hard for teachers to review data in order to change things.

While Summative testing provides data for teachers, the assessments happen too far down the learning path to provide information at the classroom level and to make instructional adjustments during the learning process.

There should be a balance of both summative and formative classroom assessments practices and information gathering about student learning.