A summative assessment, in K-12 learning environments, is usually a test offered at the end of specific periods of time. Summative assessments are used to fully evaluate a student’s knowledge. Authentic assessments (A Guide to Critical Race Theory) are commonly used as forms of summative assessments. They are commonly used during grading periods and at the end of a school year or learning module. They aren’t always used at the end of time periods, though; they are also used at other times. Sometimes elementary schools (Critical Race Theory) give summative tests halfway through a school year and use them to assess the student’s progress up to that point rather than for the whole grade level.

Summative assessments should not be confused with formative assessments. Formative assessments are used to help teachers adjust their teaching methods in order to provide a specific group of students with optimal tutorship. Summative tests (calculating your GPA), on the other hand, are used to promote students to higher levels of learning and remediate students who have failed to reach the expected level of skill and knowledge. Paul Black, a K-12 scholar, made a comparison between formative assessments and a cook-tasting soup while preparing it and further went on to liken the summative assessment to a customer tasting the same soup.

Though summative assessment methods have recently been at the receiving end of increasing controversy, they are an important part of present K-12 learning structures. Summative assessments place a lot of importance on results. The heavy emphasis on results does have some undesirable consequences, but these consequences are a report on individual teachers, administration, schools, and districts. By establishing the conditions for success, teachers and administrations will be able to locate problems and make the required solutions.

They will also be able to identify the areas that need improvement, so that the students can receive the best education possible. In this category are high-stakes tests, such as standardized tests, which are an example of a blanket summative assessment(elementary debate topics) that is designed to rank students after instruction based on a common curriculum. One big disadvantage of summative assessments is that they take place too far into the educational process for them to give teachers the information that will help them identify the areas that are in need of adjustment in order to support a specific group of students towards achieving a particular academic goal.

Summative assessment provides instructors with helpful information as it can be used in the future to help place specific students on the right trajectory that will lead to success in achieving their academic goals. Summative assessments also provide instructors with the information they need to improve their teaching methodology so that the next group of students will be able to avoid any potholes the previous group had to go through. This helps foster constant improvement of teaching methodology. Along with that, summative assessment can help teachers identify weak spots in the learning process that need increased attention and conscious improvement.

Apart from knowledge, several other factors contribute to students’ success in summative assessments. Factors like the test type (120 debate topics), when the test occurs, the school environment, etc., can affect a student’s result on a summative assessment, even if the student has a high level of knowledge about the subject.

Though they are often considered daunting and intimidating, summative assessments (calculating your grades) can be very useful for evaluating a student’s knowledge and understanding of a subject. When you have a proper understanding of what you want to test your students on and why you want to test them, you will be able to apply summative tests when necessary and as is appropriate for your school and your specific group of students.