Formative & Summative Assessments

Connecting Bridges within the Classroom

Summative Assessments- The Toll at the End of the Bridge

Summative Assessments are what I consider the end destination of learning goals. I think of Summative Assessments as a toll booth that charges the knowledge of a specific skill in order for a student to exit on to the next bridge. These types of assessments are usually created by the state or locally developed specifically to see what students can apply a learned skill. I personally believe that Summative Assessments are beneficial when it comes to collecting data on students. However, they are also dependent upon so many variables, such as illness, to truly gain valid data.

In the classroom that I am working in now, we only give Summative Assessments that are provided to us by a local or state educational department. I have noticed that some tests we receive are particularly difficult for our third graders. Due to the limitations we have on what we can assess students with, it creates a wedge and takes away teacher agency.

Formative Assessments- The Journey Across the Bridge

Formative Assessments are used to assist the students going across the bridge. I think the idea of a bridge accurately represents a student's process towards achieving a specific learning goal. During the time students are crossing their bridge, Formative Assessments, are used to guide students. Whether it is creating activities, providing instructional feedback, or allowing student agency this type of assessment allows for support.

In our classroom, we use many games that allow the students to kinesthetically explore learning. One particular activity we created lets students walk around the room to find a hidden question and after they figure out their answer each student records their answers on a given sheet. When they are all finished, we come back as a whole class and go over their answers. This time allows for students to correct errors and for the educators to provide instructional feedback on how we can use learned strategies to come to an answer. I believe that using formative assessments in this light promotes learning and a student-centered enviorment.

Formative & Summative Examples

Formative & Summative Assessment Examples in My Classroom


  • Unit Tests
  • PACE state test
  • NWA standardized test


  • Fist of Five
  • Exit Slips
  • IXL- an iPad app that has students answer questions on skills and then gives the student a score.
  • Kahoot
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Reflections on Activities/ Teacher Feedback

New Hampshire Department of Education States PACE Test- Summative Assessment