Highland Learning and Teaching Toolkit

 Home | Inclusive & Enjoyable | Flexible  | Whole Learner | Active Citizens | Multiple Intelligence

| About this Toolkit | Parents | Practical Strategies SMT | Feedback | Site Map | Search

Link to Highland Council Website

Learning and Teaching should meet the needs of the Whole Learner:

Summative Assessment
 

 

 

Self-Esteem

PLP

Summative Assessment

Independent Learning

Diagnostic Assessment

Emotional Intelligence

Planning

Summative  Assessment is the formal testing of what has been learned in order to produce marks or grades which may be used for reports of various types.   This is different from Formative Assessment, in which the emphasis is on on-going assessments of different types used to judge how best to help pupils learn further.   

Points arising from Research

bullet

In formative assessment the emphasis is more on helping pupils learn.  (See section on Formative Assessment

bullet

Summative assessment can have a negative impact on pupils’ motivation

bullet

Schools can work to change the culture of assessment to make more effective use of summative assessment

Key Elements of Summative Assessment

Effects on motivation
(Motivation is seen as a compound of many factors)

bullet

After summative assessment, low-achieving pupils had lower self-esteem than higher-achievers, whereas there had been no correlation between self-esteem and achievement before

bullet

Repeated practice tests reinforce low self-esteem of low achievers

bullet

“Big bang” tests cause anxiety in pupils, especially girls

bullet

Tests do motivate some pupils.

bullet

They also widen the gap between high- and low-achievers’ motivation

bullet

Summative assessment promotes “extrinsic” motivation, in which pupils respond to the promise of some kind of reward rather than “intrinsic” motivation in which they perform because they are interested and want to do the work.

bullet

When results of summative assessment are presented as primarily relating to individual pupils the negative effect on low-achievers is more pronounced than when the results are for evaluation of school or authority standards.

bullet

Secondary age low-achievers may deliberately underperform in summative assessments because they are failing anyway

bullet

Summative assessments can be limiting for the most able

Curriculum and teaching

bullet

The curriculum can be narrowed by “teaching to the test”. 

bullet

This can even mean that time is taken away from curriculum content.

bullet

It can also produce distortion in terms of teaching techniques

bullet

Summative test questions may not be framed in the same way as those preferred for formative assessment.

bullet

Teachers can spend a lot of time on summative assessment which does not directly improve pupils’ learning.

bullet

Teachers sometimes adopt a more didactic “transmission” style of teaching which disadvantages those who don’t respond well to it.

Validity and reliability

Validity must be assured in terms of the following:

bullet

The content of the assessment

bullet

The way in which the assessment is constructed

bullet

A test’s linkage with the way the items have been taught

Reliability must be assured in terms of the following:

 

bullet

Consistency across tasks

bullet

Consistency in scoring/grading

Positive potential

Schools have little direct control over the nature of external summative assessments and must be careful to prepare pupils effectively for these.  However, certain principles can inform the effective use of summative assessment of coursework.  These principles are seen as ways of encouraging skills and attitudes for lifelong learning.

bullet

“Intrinsic” interest in tasks can be encouraged (see above)

bullet

Pupil awareness of learning goals rather than test performance goals can be developed

bullet

A wide range of types of understanding can be included in summative assessment

bullet

Some formative assessment evidence may be included in summative reports

bullet

Peer- and self-assessment could be included in summative records

bullet

Tests don’t need to be formal written assessments

bullet

The comparison of individual pupils on the basis of scores can be avoided

bullet

Summative tests can be placed before the end of a teaching block so that there is some opportunity for follow-up based on the results, and even reassessment

bullet

Summative judgements can be made on the basis of a variety of tests (varied both in form and content)

bullet

Pupils could carry forward lessons from assessments even into the next school session (eg in the form of a copy of their school report)

bullet

Feedback can be given to pupils in terms of the learning goals rather than just a test mark

bullet

Tests might be devised to assess separate elements of the course separately

bullet

In practising for summative assessment, pupils can make up and answer their own questions.  (Research has shown this to be an effective strategy)

bullet

Tests can be timed according to pupil readiness rather than leaving them to the end of the block of work

bullet

Summative assessment can be presented to pupils realistically, as being limited

bullet

Tests can provide evidence for evaluating courses and teaching approaches

bullet

Whole-school discussion of such assessment principles can be helpful

 Reflection and Discussion

Do you feel that time spent of summative assessment tasks is as profitable as it might be?

Can summative assessment be exploited for formative purposes?

Some Activities Relating To the Issue Summative Assessment

Key element

Objective

Action

 

Some examples and suggestions

Effects on Motivation “Big bang” tests cause anxiety in pupils, especially girls. Summative tests can be presented as merely the culmination of the formative process. The aim would be a culture in which the pupil attempts to do well in all types of assessment, so that there is no need to give special prominence to final assessments.
Curriculum and Teaching It can also produce distortion in terms of teaching techniques.

Take stock of your approach to preparing pupils for tests.  Do you still adopt the same range of teaching approaches?  Is there a tendency for pupils and teachers to become anxious and revert to less “involving” strategies.  A pupil questionnaire can be used to sample pupil opinion after the assessment has been completed.   

Validity and Reliability A test’s linkage with the way the items have been taught Tests are sometimes made up by people who have taught the course in a different way or not taught it at all. Are your summative test items related to your own approach? Check, for example, that pupils understand all the language in the assessment. This is frequently not the case.
Positive Potential A wide range of types of understanding can be included in summative assessment. Do you or can you build in items testing ability to solve new problems, think critically, make informed decisions?
 

Selected References



Websites

The EPPI-Centre (home site http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/) has published a review of research which was prepared by the Assessment and Learning Research Synthesis Group.  The review is at:
http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/EPPIWeb/home.aspx?page=/reel/review_groups/assessment/review_one.htm

 


webmaster
 

Last updated 20/08/2010
© Highland Council Education, Culture and Sport Service

Highland Schools Virtual Library