A. Formative vs. Summative
Classroom assessments can include a wide range of
options -- from recording anecdotal notes while observing a student
to administering standardized tests. The options can be roughly
divided into two categories -- formative assessments and summative
Formative assessments are on-going assessments,
reviews, and observations in a classroom. Teachers use formative
assessment to improve instructional methods and student feedback
throughout the teaching and learning process. For example, if a
teacher observes that some students do not grasp a concept, she
or he can design a review activity or use a different instructional
strategy. Likewise, students can monitor their progress with periodic
quizzes and performance tasks. The results of formative assessments
are used to modify and validate instruction.
Summative assessments are typically used to evaluate the
effectiveness of instructional programs and
services at the end of an academic year or at a pre-determined time.
The goal of summative assessments is to make a judgment of student
competency after an instructional phase is complete. For example,
in Florida, the FCAT is administered once a year -- it is a summative
assessment to determine each student's ability at pre-determined
points in time. Summative evaluations are used to determine if students
have mastered specific competencies and to identify instructional
areas that need additional attention.
The following table highlights some formative and summative assessments
that are common in K12 schools.
|Quizzes and essays
||Statewide tests (FCAT)
||Entrance exams (SAT and ACT)