Explained: Formative and Summative Assessment Importance For Students Growth

Learn About The Importance of Formative and Summative Assessments From Leaders of Evolution 

When teachers say “your time starts now” at the beginning of an exam, does your heart drop as mine does? I get this sinking feeling that I’ll forget all the information I spent days learning. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a bit of test anxiety. I would much rather write a reflection, complete homework assignments, or have in-class debates and discussions than take a cumulative final or standardized test. My learning preferences serve as the perfect example of the difference between formative and summative assessments. Not every student can perform well in high-pressure testing styles – I certainly can’t. That’s why it is imperative that students have different ways to measure their success. 

What are Formative and Summative Assessments?

Formative and summative assessments are multiple ways of measuring students’ success and overall progress and can help motivate students to achieve certain learning objectives. They can be approached in a variety of ways, so I want to begin by noting the differences between Formative and summative assessments. 

Formative Versus Summative Assessments: The Differences

Formative and Summative Assessment | Leaders of Evolution

The Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning defines formative assessments as the “tools that identify misconceptions, struggles, and learning gaps along the way and assess how to close those gaps. It includes effective tools for helping to shape learning. It can even bolster students’ abilities to take ownership of their learning when they understand that the goal is to improve learning, not apply final marks.” 

Formative assessments can include an evaluation by students, peers, or instructors. They can take the form of quizzes, conversations, writing, and more. This type of assessment happens over time throughout a course and strives to improve student achievement by targeting students’ specific needs. 

In contrast, summative assessments “evaluate student learning, knowledge, proficiency, or success at the conclusion of an instructional period, like a unit, course, or program.” They are almost always formally graded and heavily weighted exams, final projects, essays, presentations, etc. Summative assessments are used in concurrence with formative assessments, which allows instructors to utilize a wide variety of evaluations. 

Examples Of Formative and Summative Assessment Tactics

Formative: In class discussions, clicker questions, low-stages group work, weekly quizzes, reflection writing assignments, homework assignments, surveys

Summative: Instructor-created exams, standardised tests, final projects, final essays, final presentations, final reports, overall final grades 

Formative and Summative Assessments Holistically Benefit Students

The formative strategies improve teaching and learning simultaneously, whereby instructors can encourage their students to assess their own learning. This allows students to develop self-awareness, which is something Leaders of Evolution teaches, as well. Summative assessments are typically higher-stakes; therefore, aligning goals with expected outcomes is a necessary skill for success. 

Leaders of Evolution strives to benefit students holistically and provide them with a transferable skill set for the future. One of the many ways we revolutionise our content and delivery is through partnerships with our biggest asset – our people! An e-learning partnership with Leaders of Evolution is an innovative new way to deliver education and development programs into organisations. We allow people to easily connect, engage and learn – on any device, wherever they may be.

E-Learning Benefits with Leaders of Evolution

Formative and Summative Assessment | Leaders of Evolution
SUNS E-learning Portal (example only)

From start to finish, we are with our e-Learning Hub partners through 100% of their learning journey. Leaders of Evolution can help with design expertise, leverage IP, fully customizable content, and optimise revenue streams. Our partners receive a multitude of benefits which translate to success in their organisation.

  • 60% of training time can be saved with an e-learning system. 
  • Participants with e-learning vs traditional learning can retain 5 times more material. 
  • $30 increase in productivity is released for every dollar invested on e-learning. 

Some of our valued partners are Special Olympics Australia, Essendon Football Club, S.E. Melbourne Phoenix, SNOW Australia, and the Gold Coast SUNS.

Simon Rodder, the former Sport Development Partnerships Manager at Special Olympics Australia, says, “Our first course has been exceeding all expectations, and we are excited to launch more courses for our community. We have seen over 900 registrations and over 200 hundred coaches complete the first course – Improving Sport for People With Intellectual Disability Course – with a satisfaction rate of over 97%.” 

Read more about the importance of Formative and Summative Assessments through Leaders of Evolution. Check out the e-learning Hub Partnership opportunities. Feel free to contact us here with any questions!

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Leaders of Evolution are passionate about education. We expertly design and deliver technology enhanced e-learning courses focused on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches and the wider community.

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Julia O'Leary

Has a passion for storytelling on a local, national, and international level. She fosters that love through her classes at Syracuse University as a writing and journalism student. In her free time, Julia is an avid traveler, skier, seafood connoisseur, and American football enthusiast. She has big plans to travel the world and a never-ending bucket list.


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