Tying the Knot Between
Formative and Summative
How to Plan For Assessments that are Useful and
Identifying the Strings
Identify the differences between formative an summative
Consider ways to make formative assessment
integrated with instruction.
Consider a plan for summative assessment.
Identify how formative and summative assessments
Consider how data can be used to for instructional and
Formative vs Summative
Occurs during instruction Occurs after instruction
Not Graded Graded
Detailed feedback for improvement Evaluative feedback
Informal, timely feedback
Selected response (multiple choice,
true/false, matching, fill-in, etc. )
Plan Begin with the end result in mind. Start with identifying the end goal or standard to
Create a task analysis. Identify the steps from the gateway activity to the task specific
activities in order to meet the standard.
Create small discussion groups for tasks that have clear focused objectives and time
constraints (which can be flexible).
Assess while instruction occurs.
Integrate informal and formal assessment with instruction.
Data should be collected at multiple points and should be used to inform and cater
instruction towards the need of the learner.
• Pretesting students to see what is already known provides a clear starting point for the
• Progress monitoring via informal/formal assessments will reveal areas needing more
• Focus on the task specifics, not form.
Plan Start with the leaning outcome; what should the students know
Create a list of the skills and knowledge students should know at
the end of the lesson.
Determine what the best assessment mode for students to show
knowledge and growth.
Data from the results of the assessment may be used to:
• Reflect on the lesson by the educator.
• Evaluate student struggles.
• Evaluate and revise performance assessment type.
• Evaluate teaching best practice.
• Assess teacher effectiveness in the classroom via administration.
Bringing the Strings
Formative and summative assessment should go hand
in hand as the growth of a skill is viewed throughout
the learning process.
Formative assessment done in a timely and
meaningful manner, produces better outcomes on
Summative assessments shows the growth of a
learner from the beginning of a task to the end.
Reviewing and comparing formative assessments with
the summative assessments creates a more complete
picture of the learner.
Summative assessment could be the same as a pretest
or other curriculum based measure to show growth
and attained skill.
Formative Assessment Provides
Better Learning Outcomes 1/3
Students who first worked in small discussion groups were able to complete
independent tasks with greater accuracy than attempting a similar task independently.
Therefore, small discussion groups enhance independent student growth.
Exit cards were used after whole group instruction and discussion about ways to create
an interesting and focused topic sentence to hook the reader. They were also used after
small group discussions centered around the same task. In the first set of exit cards, 65%
of students could generate a clear topic sentence that hooked the reader. In the second
set of exit cards, 90% of students were able to create an interesting and focused topic
sentence to hook the reader.
Because 90% of students were able to write interesting and focused topic sentences
independently after the small group task, compared to the 65%, one can see that small
discussion groups help independent learners meet goals and objectives while fostering
independent task completion with better than performing an independent task prior to
engaging in a small group task.
Formative Assessment Provides
Better Learning Outcomes 2/3
Students who were provided quality feedback on task specific objectives, were
more likely to make revisions and edits to the draft than those whose papers were
also marked up with formatting and grammar corrections.
In a comparison of students rough drafts to final drafts, those papers that were
marked up with corrections for grammar and formatting as well as task specific
comments did not spend time revising the task specific needs of the paragraph type,
as evidenced in the lack of change in published work. While, students whose papers
had limited markings for grammar and formatting errors, revised the paper tackling
the task specific needs as well as the grammar and formatting.
More students who were only provided task specific feedback on ‘how-to’
paragraphs revised their drafts for the needs discussed, than those whose papers
were also marked for grammatical and formatting needs. This shows that feedback
centered around the objective or task, rather than marking all errors, will encourage
students to make the task specific changes.
Formative Assessment Provides
Better Learning Outcomes 3/3
Some may argue the prior examples highlight practice on specific tasks
being the motivation for change rather than knowledge gained. Yes,
practice of course makes one better, however in claim 1, completing tasks
within a small discussion group is what enabled students to create more
interesting and focused topic sentences because they were able to make
judgments on a task collectively, allowing for opportunities for discussion
about what is ‘good’ versus ‘not good.’ Students were more likely to
challenge themselves to try different ways of completing the task when in
the small group where risk is not as huge.
In claim 2 some may argue that a students paper void of marking for
editing errors shows a student who has higher level writing abilities,
therefore would make necessary task revisions. However, students whose
papers were not marked for editing errors (when plenty were visible)
were not necessarily the better writers. Thus, showing that regardless of
writing ability the focus of feedback should be placed on task specific
goals for the concept to be mastered.
• Assessments are needed to evaluate student
comprehension at all phases of the writing
• Summative assessments will show many
things including student growth, areas
needing more instruction and possible lesson
weaknesses, evaluation of instruction
procedures both from teacher to student and
administration to teacher.
• Hillocks, George, Jr. 2011. Teaching Argument Writing.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
• Smagorinsky, Peter, Larry R.Johannessen, Elizabeth
Kahn, and Thomas M. McCann. 2010. The Dynamics of
Writing Instruction. A Structured Approach for Middle
and High School. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.