Formative Assessments, Are Designed To Be Cumulative Essay


¶ … formative assessments, are designed to be cumulative in nature. Formative assessments give feedback to the teacher regarding the students' comprehension of the lesson plan and enable the teacher to tailor his or her instruction to address student needs. Summative assessments have the goal of evaluating the success of the learning process for the student, teacher, administrator, or other relevant parties in a terminal fashion. State tests are one example of summative assessments; so are end-of-chapter reviews. Summative assessments occur too late in the learning process to fundamentally change the instruction in the classroom, although they may influence how later instruction takes place (Garrison & Ehringhaus 2007).

There is generally a lower level of student involvement in the summative assessment process. Even with chapter reviews, teachers are attempting to see if students have mastered the goals that were set for them class at the beginning of the unit. While teachers may tailor the requirements of formative assessments to help students better understand the material, summative assessments have objective goals. With standardized formative assessments, the teacher has no control over the content at all, and the students may not have specifically engaged with the concepts on the test.

Because summative assessments are often used to compare the results of children in different schools on standardized exams, or to measure a specific body of knowledge, they are usually conveyed in a more rigid format than formative assessments, such as multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, or specifically-targeted essays. Occasionally, however, some teachers will assign a research paper or use a portfolio as a summative assessment, in which the student is supposed to demonstrate what he or she has learned over the course of the semester through the selection of past assignments. Summative assessments are not necessarily inferior to formative assessments (although teachers may find them less useful). Rather, they fulfill a different function in the learning process and in the educational system as a whole.


Garrison, Catherine & Michael Ehringhaus. (2007).Formative and summative assessments in the classroom Association for Middle Level Education. Retrieved:

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