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The Essence of Summative Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Apr 24th, 2019

There are two types of assessment methods: summative and formative. Summative assessment is an assessment criterion that focuses on evaluation of a learner’s competence in what has been learned for a certain period (Fox Valley Technical College, 2007). Formative assessment focuses on providing feedback to both teachers and students so that they can adjust teaching and learning methods to suit, a student needs (Boston, 2002).

Assessment is not only useful in measuring the skills, beliefs, attitudes skills and knowledge of an individual learner but also the entire an institution thorough standardized tests. This paper will evaluate the essence of summative assessment and how they can be useful in not only appraising both the learner and the leaning process.

  • Summative assessment focuses on the content rather than the learner. Its objective is to test what has been learned up to a certain period. It gives a report on the learner’s achievements. This means that a summative assessment report can be useful by an institution in keeping a record of learning outcomes. Summative reports are best at ranking student and thus useful for placement purpose. They can also be used in ranking institutions where standardized tests are used (Harlen, 2007).
  • Despite the fact that summative assessment is content based it should not be viewed as unhelpful to both the learner and the teacher. Summative repots lead to formative assessment. Teachers can use summative reports to identify learners, and indeed the entire class or institutional areas of weakness and thus determine what other teaching variables the teachers will use to address learners weaknesses. This is intended at motivating learners (McMillan, 2011)
  • Summative assessment is a very important tool in giving feedback to relevant authorities. Parents need to know the progress report of their children. Colleges and universities need final year reports to decide which student to admit or not. Education policy makers rely heavily on summative reports to make the necessary policy changes (McMillan 2011).
  • Summative reports not only useful in accrediting student’s for placement but also useful in design new teaching and learning methods at the developmental stage of learning meant to address learner’s needs, just like formative evaluation (McMillan, 2011; Nicholls 2002).

In conclusion, summative assessment is a traditional way of assessing a student’s performance. However, it is still very useful in the education systems today, though not all conclusive about a students academic potential. Educationists explain that summative reports alone can have detrimental effects, as they are not student centered.

To address this they have worked out a solution that incorporates synthesizing these reports and then using that knowledge as valuable feedback that will help develop teaching methods that are student centered.

Reference List

Boston, C. (2002). The concept of formative assessment. Practical assessment research and evaluation, 8(9). Retrieved from

Harlen, W. (2007). The impact of summative assessment on children, teaching, and the curriculum, p 51-65. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-531-90755-0_4

McMillan, J. (2011). Essential assessment concepts for teachers and administrators. California: Corwin Press

Nicholls, G. (2002). Developing teaching and learning in higher education. New York: Routledge Falmer

UK Centre for Legal Education (4 June 2010). Formative vs. Summative assessment. Web.

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