How to Use Summative Assessments in Your Classroom


Summative assessments occur at the end of a curriculum unit and are often the formal final/overall grading of a learner’s knowledge. They are also given at specific points—not necessarily an endpoint. For instance, a standardized exam for fifth graders may be provided halfway through the school year and be designed to gauge knowledge and school acquisition to that point—not for the entire grade level.

Summative assessments are different from formative assessments because educators do not need to adjust their teaching methods for that group of learners based on the results. But instructors may use summative assessment to remediate learners who failed to garner a satisfactory score.


  • Summative assessments are needed to provide a final grade for a learner and are often required by school boards.
  • Summative assessments give learners something to strive toward, which may keep them motivated and encourage them to study.
  • The information gained through summative assessment is helpful to instructors because it can redirect the future of a particular subject or course based on student outcome. Summative assessment can pinpoint weak areas in the learning process and help the instructor understand what topics need more attention the next time around.


  • Summative assessments happen too late in the educational process to provide instructors with the information needed to make adjustments to a specific learning goal in a particular group of learners.
  • They are seen as too stressful for learners.
  • They can force instructors to teach to the test.


  1. Written Assessment: Learners will be tasked with writing an original piece, such as a narrative or analytical essay.
  2. Performance Assessment: Learners will be required to do an activity or task that will showcase their abilities.
  3. Standardized Assessment: Learners will take an exam created for a given curriculum and will be measured against an existing rubric, shared with the learners during the course.
  4. Oral Assessment: Learners will craft and deliver an oral piece, such as a speech or presentation.
Choose your Reaction!