Types of Summative Assessment and Formative Assessment

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Types of Summative Assessment and Formative Assessment

Whether you are a teacher, exam supervisor, administrator, or lecturer, you might have come across the terms summative assessment and formative assessment. These two concepts are crucial to the assessment of students in any organization or institution.

Therefore, it is important for you to understand both of them in greater detail so that you can conduct assessments in a better and more efficient manner.

The two ways of assessing scholars are summative assessment and formative assessment. Let’s discover their advantages to the learners and the outcomes it generates.

Whether designing annual-term exams or a weekly quiz for class assessment, summative and formative assessments are the most effective ways to evaluate a student’s performance. It is a process of assessing a student’s understanding of the related subject based on particular criteria.

In addition, Assessments are considered a way to achieve learning objectives and make a thorough approach towards their goals.

Talking about the formative assessment, it tackles the misconceptions, struggles, and gaps that come along in the way while learning and helps to evaluate and fill the gaps.

With the help of practical tools that help form a learning method, students can strengthen their learning abilities to proceed with their learning goals after understanding their possessions.

Once the student learns, the final learning goal is to increase their ability and skills but not the marks. The formative assessment method improves students’ learning and sustenance students’ specific needs.

In contrast, summative assessments assess student learning, knowledge proficiency, and success at the end of an academic period, such as a course or a program. The process of summative assessment is a strict grading system and subjective.

However, summative assessments can be used to influence the arrangement and combination of formative assessments that can be beneficial for the instructors in many ways.

This article will discuss the depth of formative and summative evaluation that helps an academic master analyze his student’s ability and increase their inner potential.

formative and summative evaluation

What is Summative Assessment?

Summative assessment is a type of assessment conducted at the end of the training program or a study course to assess the student’s gained knowledge and proficiency by comparing their previous learning with outcome results.

Once we understand the process of formative assessment, the process of summative assessment becomes more understood.

So, the success chances are higher if both approaches are combined. Summative assessment is about quantifying the results by defining previous standards or targets. This evaluation can only screen the student’s performance.

However, it does not recognize the student’s insufficiency in using the information to solve practical problems. Summative assessment structures have high incentives, which mean their result is valuable.

The summative assessment system is quite challenging for the mentors to deliver individualized feedback on students’ performance. Yet, the results are typically significant, as it can be clear enough to decide the student’s results at the end of their course or will they be able to get admission or a promotion.

Summative evaluation tools can be assessed online to get better results. Instructors freely use online tools to track summative evaluations linked with formative evaluations.

Summative evaluation tools

These assessments are evaluative instead of analytic. It helps to determine if the specified objectives of the course are being encountered. Summative assessment helps evaluate the learner’s executions in contradiction of prearranged level.

They have clear instructions and grading documentation that will make students’ understandings obvious to see how much the student has retained from the coursework.

The rubric can be a useful tool for the instructor’s performance expectations from the tasks for the assignment evaluation. These assessments can be combined with other resources that will be beneficial for the teachers to analyze the outcomes and come up with better arrangements for strategic learning.

Let’s take a plunge into the summative and formative assessments and see their differences, their purposes, and how these evaluations can be helpful for learners’ development. But, first, we will catch sight of the examples and types of summative and formative assessments.

Types of Summative Assessments

As mentioned above, there are several different types of summative assessments performed by educational institutions all over the world, and each of them is used for different purposes and applications. Let’s go through these types of summative assessments one by one.

Final Examination

A final examination is one of the most common methods of classroom evaluation. The instructor organizes significant questions, and the students answer back to these questions in a given time. These examinations are conducted to see the final knowledge of the student on a concerned program.

Due to these examinations, the instructor considers the student’s ability on particular course material. Also, assessments provide calculable results that will support you to grade your student and identify their success rate.

Final Examination

Classroom Chapter Test

It is a short exam that occurs at the end of the class on a specific chapter or topic. These methods are used to conclude the student’s understanding in a particular chapter or evaluate the student’s concept to prepare them well for the final term examinations at the end of the program. Some general models for taking such tests are quizzes, midterm assessments, practice tests, etc.

Oral Tests

Oral summative evaluations are the kind of tests used to get immediate and impulsive responses from the learners at the end of the program. The instructor can use a variety of organized and semi-organized interview approaches to score the student’s overall performance. These tests can be taken in class as oral participation on topics.

Oral Tests

Group Projects

Another good way to evaluate an individual’s abilities is through small group tasks. You can implement tasks within small groups of students. By providing teamwork and struggle determination training, you will analyze your student’s ability in shared work. So, allocate a task and see how they can solve a particular problem.

Book Reports

These books contain summarized knowledge that validates a student’s mythical skills. In such reports, you can get the idea of a student’s analytical and reading skills. In book reports, students are supposed to highlight the main points discussed in training. You can even use online platforms for such assessments.

Book Reports

Characteristics of Summative Assessment

Now that we have gone through the various types of summative assessment, let’s also take a closer look at their characteristics.


A test needs to be actual and everyday activities. For instance, a science test with theoretical definitions is less effective than the one with a practical application that enables them to include a reality-based fact from the environment. This way, they would be testified in both ways that will help them solve multiple life problems.


The accurate use of summative assessments provides exact and reliable outcomes. It is a consistent method of knowledge-based assessments. With the help of a definite process, a student’s capability in a related field can be defined.



Summative assessment evaluates the student’s competency in a specific course in route with the learning goals and objectives of the concerned training program. It is a most effective way that educators already know the learning goals before educating on a topic; otherwise, it would be biased for the students to take the test of those things that were not discussed throughout the teaching program.


Summative evaluation enables students to reveal skills and establish knowledge in various ways. However, you need to keep in mind a few things while considering summative assessments.

  • It always happens at the end of the training course
  • It is all about testing students’ information, which has been discussed in the course outline or during the training
  • Summative assessment supports the learning objectives and end goals of the course
  • Summative assessment helps to declare the student’s performance in a particular course matter
  • It happens to obtain an obvious purpose of the related subject

Straightforwardly Reported

Since the main element of summative assessment is to evaluate a student’s learning in a related course. It completes after having a summarized report of the outcomes. In this way, teachers get the idea of their student’s past performance compared to the current performances.


The process of summative evaluation is quite practical and calculable. Moreover, summative evaluation is a well-organized process that helps the instructors to apply it in a training program.


The Goal of Summative Assessment

The goal of summative assessment is to assess students’ learning after completing a course framework in an instructional unit by comparing it with some targets and standards. Therefore, the students consider summative assessments as a significant method over the formative assessment. Although they have high stakes, the results generated from summative assessments can be used formatively by instructors and the students to get better guidance on the efforts and actions in the following subjects.

What are the Benefits of Summative Assessment?

Summative assessments offer long-term rewards to the teachers as well as to the students.

Student Motivation

Summative assessments keep students motivated throughout the study period to work hard. Continuous grading can benefit students and inspire them to work harder and put in the extra effort.

Student Motivation

Applying to learn

This assessment process isn’t about memorizing the mathematical equations, although a well-designed process will help students solve their daily analytical problems.

Identifying Gaps in Learning

The best part of summative assessments is that it helps to identify the gaps. Then, teachers conduct the tests and quizzes at the end of each topic to make more improvements in the next steps.

Identifying Teaching Gaps

An important way is to identify the teacher’s gaps and reveal them. This can be done by incorporating interesting and innovative teaching forms that benefit students in their assessments.

Identifying Teaching Gaps

Giving Valuable Insights

Summative assessments also give valuable insights into the student’s performances and works. In addition, it will highlight the student’s weak points and what troubles them so that the academic instructors may respond to their current course material.

What are Formative Assessments?

After having a detailed discussion on the summative assessment, we will now dive into the formative evaluation. However, formative assessments are different from summative assessments in various ways.

Firstly, Formative assessments do not need to be graded or scored. They work as inspections, and it is more about the knowledge than the results. Later, the collected information helps to shape the future contents.

What are Formative Assessments

Formative assessment can be conducted in various ways. It could be taken through writing assignments, a simple drawing, a quiz, or a short conversation with a group of students. At the same time, summative assessment is often conducted through an organized method such as a final examination with pen and paper.

Formative assessments are measured as learning processes that don’t need to be calculated like summative assessments. They serve as practice material for students’ learning. They are formed for a better understanding of the course for students and help decide for the instructors in future instructions.

In return, instructors come up with the feedback that is valuable chances for the students to improve their performances. Thus, it assists the students in differentiating the instruction and improving their achievements.

Informative assessments are held daily throughout the teaching course that allows the instructors and the learners to evaluate their accomplishments and progress more often.

The formative process begins with logical assessments, indicating what is already known and the gaps that may be present in their knowledge and skills.

It will become easier for the pupils and instructors to achieve the desired goal after seeing the current achievements and to plan the next moves. Furthermore, formative assessments indicate whether the teaching materials should be edited further to strengthen the learning with continuous learning.

Types of Formative Assessment

Let’s have a closer look at the different types of formative assessment that are and can be used by educational institutions.

Unplanned Quiz

At the end of each chapter, you can ask your students questions about the topic or an impromptu quiz to know how well your students understand the course material.


Students learn by answering the question and by getting into the discussions. It is another way to collect the immediate response of the students. You can generate a polling system, or you can use any online polling tool to get students’ feedback.



You can observe your students while doing the projects in class. Teachers can roam around in the classroom, see where the student is lacking, and guide them accordingly. This way, you will be notified about your student’s performance and learning.

This method is useful and works well when the teachers monitor the students while working together in a group or working independently. As a teacher, you can take notes on students’ performance and see if the course framework needs to be altered to make the learning process easy.


It is one of the effective methods of formative assessment. Sometimes, students are required to write down their feelings and their progress in the classroom. Then, they can share their thought on particular course material or an assignment.

In this way, teachers get a quick response on their learning material and planned lessons. If the responses on a specific journal are higher, a teacher can modify the tasks according to the student’s answers.

Pictorial Exercises

Ask your students to construct a central idea of the course by using their simple visual representations or drawing skills. This process can be done by you or also by the learner. For example, you can provide them the handouts with already made sketches and ask them to choose the appropriate image or sketch the course material’s core ideas.

Pictorial Exercises

Interviews and Focus Groups

You can establish quick interviews or group-focused discussions for students during the class. These can be anything like the casual few minutes of learning from a report and questions regarding them or structured interviews through surveys and questionnaires. This method can provide a better understanding among the students.

Tag Feedback

This method is a peer assessment process in which students provide their feedback on each other’s performances. As an instructor, you can understand the student’s valuable understanding while assessing their peers. This way, their knowledge regarding course material or a topic becomes clearer.

Tag feedback is an available route to involve the students in formative assessment. Ask you, students, to suggest better ways for the current course framework to improve the quality of teaching or include the best contributions of their peers.

Since we are discussing the type, let’s look at a few examples of formative assessment that improve results.

  • Carry a questionnaire for each student individually or in a group of students throughout the learning process to define what concepts and skills are needed in which students are having trouble with. Intentional, strategic questioning may be engaged in a vast variety, for instance, by changing the phrases in the questions in a particular way that produces more useful responses.
  • Detailed and productive feedback by teachers on their student’s work such as reports, essays, worksheets, research papers, projects, quizzes, lab results, or a visual work representation of design or art. This feedback is used to improve the work topic.
  • Another good way is exit slips. These exit slips are a quick way to collect students’ responses over a teacher’s questionnaire at the end of a lecture. With indicated responses based on the student’s understanding, teachers can later make changes and modifications in the next learning plan to address the ideas and concepts that students have miscarried or failed to figure out throughout the lessons.

    Similarly, admit slips are another strategy that happens at the start of a class to see their previous understanding that students have retained from the last lecture.

Tag Feedback

Collecting Several Sources of Evidence

Assessments are the form of getting the idea of students’ needs and understandings. However, we need sources and evidence to prove its accuracy for these assessments. To elaborate on them in a way that sounds easy to the students, we might go through multiple procedures of students’ understandings.

A collection of evidence over time in different ways to assess the teachings and learning process to improve it.

The Goal of Formative Assessment

The goals of formative evaluation are to screen the students learning and deliver constant feedback to the faculty and the students. If the process is defined accurately in an appropriate method, it will benefit students to strengthen their concepts and acknowledge their weaknesses. It will also help students to improve their monitoring skills and manage their institutional tasks in a well-organized way rather than messy ones.

It also acknowledges the faculty regarding the ongoing struggles of their students so that adequate support can be provided at a right time. The structured and consistent exams in the academic curriculum limited the student’s imaginations and creativity. In comparison, formative assessment offers interesting ways for better assessment.

Therefore, formative assessments have low stakes with no grading system that may sound uninteresting to the students from engaging themselves in a task that gives no grades.

Why is Formative Assessment Necessary?

Formative assessments are essential for students as it gives them insights into their current work and progress to managing their workload and learning in a better way. It helps them assess their plans and realize if their recent steps are working for them.

It makes learning an ongoing process rather than the final term examination tests that only gives results at the end. It completes the students learning performances successfully during the periods of learning.

However, this process comes with various checks, but it is still considered an attempt that rewards students’ efforts and consistency. With the help of such assessments, students can track their abilities and academic goals.

After getting the instant results, students can assess their learning at a self-perceptive level. In short, students can analyze their mistakes and gaps and act according to them in their next moves.

This brings us to the end of our guide on types of summative assessment and formative assessment. By now, you must have a clear idea of how both types of assessments work, and if you are an educator or administrator, you will be able to use them in numerous academic environments.

Why is Formative Assessment Necessary