Formative and summative assessments in education are crucial as they determine whether or not a course's learning objectives are being met. Assessment, which can be approached in a variety of ways, allows both the educator and the student to monitor progress towards the achievement of learning objectives. A learning objective describes what students should understand and be able to do by the end of the learning process. Many aspects of education are affected by assessment, including student grades, placement, and advancement, as well as curriculum, instructional needs, and school funding. Formative and summative assessment can be understood as:
- Formative assessment is ongoing and provides a measure of progress toward the learning goal. Recognizing common misconceptions, employing strategies, and closing gaps in understanding all contribute to students' growth. Formative assessment also referred to as, 'assessment for learning,' is generally low stakes and is used to strengthen student understanding and encourage individual accountability.
- Summative assessments are typically given in a more formal setting, such as at the end of a course or unit, and aim to outline the breadth of students' knowledge. They may be given more importance for that program, implying that the summative assessment will account for a larger portion of the total grade.
What Effects do These Assessments have?
The assessment results provide descriptive information that assists faculty in determining how to improve courses and programs through changes in curriculum, teaching methodologies, course materials, and other areas. When assessment results are incorporated into the planning cycle for curriculum development and review, they can provide a powerful rationale for securing support for curricular and other changes. Some of the main effects of formative and summative assessment include:-
- Assessment is an important factor in learning because it assists students in the learning process. By means of these, the students can determine whether or not they comprehend course material when they can see how they are doing in class. Students can be motivated by assessment as well. Students may begin to work harder if they are aware that they are performing poorly.
- Assessment is beneficial to both students and teachers alike. Educators can see if their teaching is beneficial by assessing students on a regular basis. Teachers can also use assessment to ensure that students understand what they need to know in order to meet the course's learning goals.
- The formative and summative assessments prove to be extremely helpful when it comes to identifying the students’ weaknesses and areas of strengths. It also helps in locating the gaps in the learning process and enables the teachers to find ways to fill these gaps.
One of the most obvious benefits of formative assessment is the ability to provide feedback. Feedback can be used to help both teachers and students improve during the education process. Formative assessments are used in the following contexts: identifying students' strengths and weaknesses, addressing each student's areas of need, assisting teachers in recognizing gaps in knowledge and functioning to close those gaps.
One of the reasons formative assessments are so beneficial is that they take little time and are regarded as low-risk by students. Formative assessments include the following:
- Discussions in class
- Clicker questions
- Low-stake group tasks
- Pop quizzes
- Quick writing assignments
- Homework assignments
- Presentations in classrooms
- Peer review
- Hands-on activities
Formative assessment is used as an educational assessment, which implies that it can provide a wealth of useful information. Evaluations will show where students are facing problems, which lessons may need to be taught to the students again, and which subjects some students are good at. Formative assessment assists teachers in determining the next steps to address in class or with a small group of students.
Summative evaluations are frequently high-stakes assessments that are used to evaluate students at the end of the educational journey, usually by comparing their progress to the course criteria or learning goals. Summative assessment includes the following:-
- Teacher-created examinations
- Standardized tests
- Final projects
- Final reports
- Final presentation
- Final essays
- Graded tests
Summative assessments should provide students with the opportunity to illustrate a broad understanding of the course content, such as making connections, synthesizing information, and broadening the course's core concepts. Effective summative assessments allow students to consider the entirety of a course's content, making broad links, demonstrating synthesized skills, and delving deeper into the ideas and content that drive or found the course.
An assessment framework defines tools and methods for defining clear expectations and standards for learning and performance quality. It also specifies project supervision checkpoints and methods for informing teachers and keeping students on track. When summative assessment data shows that there are gaps in student education and understanding targets across the board, schools may turn to improved lesson planning and new learning criteria to measure and enhance school achievement levels.
Most formative assessment strategies are simple to implement and integrate seamlessly into the instructional process. Very seldom is the information gathered marked or graded. Formative assessment may be supplemented with descriptive feedback to inform students if they have perfected an outcome or if they need more practice.
It is critical that teachers practice diagnostic assessments, summative assessments, formative assessments, and other informal assessments in the classroom so that they can be used across the learning process and so that students can explore and use a variety of assessment methods to monitor their students' learning and advancement. When formative and summative assessments are aligned and used together, they serve as an exceptional method of student evaluation.