Vernier Science Education - June  2024


Forums / Evaluation and Assessment / Formative vs. Summative Assessments

Evaluation and Assessment

Formative vs. Summative Assessments

Author Post
Amy Efird Amy Efird 1820 Points

Hello, my name is Amy Efird. I’m a senior at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. I would love to teach kindergarten and plan on teaching in my hometown of Mount Ida. My question pertains to the idea of pitting formative and summative assessments against one another. Is one better than the other? Which one would you use more in the classroom?

Emma Ammons Emma Ammons 635 Points

Hi Amy, 

Exciting year of college to be in! I am Emma Ammons, a third year at Wartburg college. We've talked a lot in my classes about utilizing summative vs formative assesments. Formative's really are that along the way check of students understandings, the physical evidence of they've got it or they don't. Summative is more of the big test, total chapter or unit comprehension, etc. I like to think of summative test along the lines of standardized, because they both start with s and are big type test. Personally, I love seeing exit tickets, or short answer on a worksheet to check where the students are with their understanding. Depending how you teach, formative will be used the most often, as they are informal methods of checking for understanding. Feel free to reach out more, my email is [email protected] .

- Emma Ammons

Vinsensia Wunga Vinsensia Wunga 2056 Points

Hi there,

Great question you are asking. I think both assessments ( formative and summative) are helpful for students as well as for the educators.

You are asking ' which one would you use more in the classroom?'. I think, Forative assessment should use more in the classroom. Formative assessments should be use during the lesson because it is the chance more the educators to monitor the students and their learning progress. Formative assessment enables the teachers to help know what the students needs to learn, what they already know and most importantly, it allows the teachers to see what methods and strategies they need to use in their lessons.

Elizabeth Inselmann Elizabeth Inselmann 1395 Points

Hi Amy, 

   Formative and Summative assessments are both very important in the classroom and there needs to be both I personally do not prefer one over the other. I would like to teach early elementary as well and in my classroom, formative assessments will be used at the end of each day as a check for understanding. So formative will be used more than summative assessments. 

All the best, 

    Lizzy Inselmann Wartburg class of 2023

Alexis Reaver Alexis Reaver 530 Points

Formative and summative assessments are so important to use hand in hand. Formative assessments should be embedded into your lessons even if they are just quick check ins with your students to determine their understanding of the content. Formative assessments are used to guide your instruction while summative should be used less frequently with your students to determine their overall understanding of the content. This should be done at the end of a section or unit to determine how much of the content your students received. Then you can decide if you can move on or how you need to differentiate the lessons to meet the needs of your students.

Varduhi Brutyan Varduhi Brutyan 425 Points

Hi everyone,

Both formative and summative assessments have their meaning and purpose of being implemented. Formative assessment is an ongoing assessment that guides your instruction and helps you determine whether or not your students are ready to move forward to the next topic, or maybe there are some aspects of the lesson that need to be retaught. It also helps with differentiated instraction; ongoing assessment helps the teacher identify each student's needs and strenghts and guides instruction designing process. Summative assessment is more formal and can be administered at the end of the unit, semester or year to check students' overall performance.



Karissa Patrick Karissa Patrick 590 Points

Formative and summative assessments have equal necessity and importance. Personally, my understanding of these two forms of assessment are as follows: 

- Formative assessments are what teachers need to use in order to gauge where their students are in their learning experiences. These are used throughout your teaching, both formally and informally. While formal formative assessments may include collecting written data and using tools like graphic organizers, informal formative assessments can be as simple as making observations as you walk around the room and having students circle an emotion they feel towards a topic. 

- Summative assessments are tools to use after a lesson has been completed. When the students have been given sufficient amounts of information, they should be tested on this knowledge in order to see what they truly understand. Summative assessments are extremely useful when having to collect data on your classroom to submit to administration, parents, and/or other teachers.

Mary Lasks Mary Lasks 20 Points

Evaluations are always important for an adequate assessment of results. But I do not know how appropriate it is to use numbers for children in kindergarten. My son went to school for the first time this year, they don't have grades, but he still strives to do everything perfectly. I found for him that he uses when he needs math homework help services. He is very smart and does all the lessons on his own. In kindergarten, they were never divided into worse or better. Just someone could complete the task, someone could not. But in the end, no one was singled out.

Stephanie Rodriguez Stephanie Rodriguez 490 Points

Hello Amy,

I truly believe that boh Formative and Summative assesments are very important in a classroom. A Formative assesment will help the teacher determine if his/her students are understanding the content being taught to them. Depending on the outcome, the teacher will be able to decide if she needs to spend more time teaching that content (using a different teaching strategy) or if they are ready to move on. A Formative assesment doesn't have to be a quiz or test, it can simply be asking some questions, playing a kahoot game, an assignment; Formative assesments are not graded, they are only used to determine students undersranding on the content being taught. Summative assesments on the other hand, are taken for a grade.

A Summative assesment is given to the students at the end of a unit to determine their over all understanding of the unit. Summative assesments can be given to students in a form of a test, or a project. Based on the students results, teachers can adjust their teaching strategies for the upcoming units, and also for the upcoming school year.

Answering your second question, I would use a formative assesment more in my classroom, because based on the students results, I will be able to determine if they are ready to move on. I would use a Summative assesment less, because they are only given at the end of a unit, quarter, semester, and year. 

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers