Types of Assessment & Use

Formative assessments are on-going assessments, reviews, and observations in a classroom. Teachers use formative assessment to improve instructional methods and student feedback throughout the teaching and learning process.

Summative assessments are typically used to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs and services at the end of an academic year or at a pre-determined time. The goal of summative assessments is to make a judgment of student competency after an instructional phase is complete.

From http://fcit.usf.edu/assessment/basic/basica.html

I use quizzes and exit slips to gauge if students are understanding the material.  If many students do not know the material, I will reteach it.  If it is a small number, I will use independent time with these students to catch them up.

Assessment (either summative or formative) can be objective or subjective. Objective assessment is a form of questioning which has a single correct answer. Subjective assessment is a form of questioning which may have more than one current answer (or more than one way of expressing the correct answer).

From http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Assessment

I use objective for more rote type of learning.  So, in Algebra, I would use it for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of integers.  I use subjective questions when helping students understand concepts.  For example, why do you think the slopes of parallel lines are the same?

I use self-assessment to help students correct and learn from their mistakes.  I have not used peer assessment often since it sometimes leads to public humiliation.  The only time I have used computer assessment is for city and state-mandated benchmarks.

With selected response assessment items, the answer is visible, and the student needs only to recognize it.  With constructed response assessments (also referred to as subjective assessments), the answer is not visible — the student must recall or construct it.

From http://fcit.usf.edu/assessment/constructed/construct.html

I rarely use multiple choice type tests since it allows guessing and makes cheating a bit easier.  I like to see the students’ work since it may provide some insight as to where the student is struggling.  Constructed responses are much tougher to grade, but can be tailored to higher levels of thought (e.g. analyze or evaluate …).

The term performance assessment (PA) is typically used to refer to a class of assessments that is based on observation and judgment.  It has been argued that performance measures offer a potential advantage of increased validity over other forms of testing that rely on indirect indicators of a desired competence or proficiency.

From http://www.answers.com/topic/performance-assessment

I have used PA (indirectly) during some guided practice activities.  I may put a step or two for student s to follow on the board, and then walk around and observe how the students solve the problem.  I have also used this when doing some role-playing activities to help students learn classroom procedures.

Assessment is authentic when we directly examine student performance on worthy intellectual tasks. Traditional assessment, by contract, relies on indirect or proxy ‘items’–efficient, simplistic substitutes from which we think valid inferences can be made about the student’s performance at those valued challenges.


Authentic assessment is a good indicator whether a student truly understands the concepts and application.  Non-authentic assessments are not as descriptive.  For example, a person may just be regurgitating information from memory or just simply may have guessed correctly.

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