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Assessment is a method of gathering information about student progress. It can take many forms. Evaluation is the weighing of assessment information against some standard (such as a curriculum learning objective) in order to make a judgment. Evaluation leads us to make a decision about learning and provides information to take action. The assignment of a course grade is an evaluation that is based on a variety of assessments. The two main types of assessment are “formative” and “summative.” In a balanced assessment system, both summative and formative assessments are an integral part of information gathering.


Formative Assessment is assessment for learning. We use formative assessments to influence our instructional practices for the class and for individual students. When incorporated into classroom practice, it provides the information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are happening. In this sense, formative assessment informs both teachers and students about student understanding at a point when timely adjustments can be made. These adjustments help to ensure students achieve targeted standards-based learning goals within a set time frame. The following are some types of formative assessments.

  • Diagnostic test

  • Quizzes

  • Essays

  • Classroom review activity

  • Lab reports

Summative Assessment is assessment of learning. While this type of assessment can influence our instructional practice, it is a longer term influence because the assessment usually occurs at the end of an instructional period. Summative assessments happen too far down the learning path to provide information at the classroom level and to make instructional adjustments and interventions during the learning process. The following are some types of formative assessments.

  • Unit test

  • Final exam

  • IOWA test


Reporting Teacher/Classroom Assessment Information to Parents

We want parents to have all the assessment information that is necessary to assist their children in their learning activities. Teachers routinely provide information on summative and formative assessments. In addition, parents receive detailed IOWA reports. As we have developed our Information Technology and Instructional Support Programs, we have integrated other Formative assessments into our standard assessment practices. We use these assessments to provide information about children’s progress in developing skills and learning important concepts and in most cases, we use this information to determine instructional support strategies. These are the assessments with their respective grade levels.

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