Educational assessment is used to raise the standards of learning, according to which the educational process should be conducted. Especially, it is related to lower ability students, since their progress and performance evaluation helps to define which particular learning needs should be addressed more.
Nowadays both summative and formative assessment methods are used for students’ performance and learning evaluation. Nevertheless, relying on one of the two methods of classroom assessment more may lead to student learning needs’ becoming unclear, since one form of assessment cannot provide a full picture of the situation.
Summative Assessment for Students’ Performance Evaluation
Summative assessment is used to evaluate certain learning needs, and usually has a form of tests, semester exams, end of unit or end of chapter tests, etc. It is evaluation conducted at the ends of certain periods of time in order to judge the sufficiency of students’ performance and knowledge.
Such a form of classroom assessment is used to define the final grade of a student, as well as help educators to make corrections and adjustment in the current curriculum, where needed, in order for the learning needs to be met in future. However, summative assessment cannot reflect the efficiency of teaching in its process, because assessment is carried out only after the instruction – so any curriculum or methodological improvements can be implemented in future practice only.
Formative Assessment for Students’ Learning Evaluation
Formative assessment is the one to evaluate the process of learning in its process, and, consequently, is a part of the teaching process. Incorporated into the educational process, it is used to discover gaps and adjust both teaching and learning processes to the students’ learning needs immediately in the process of learning.
Such an approach enables educators to raise the learning standards right in the process of teaching. Having evaluated the current needs of each individual student, including those with lower abilities, a teacher can address them immediately.
The information provided by formative assessment is to be used for modifying the teaching and learning activities in the classroom in order to get the best possible learning results.
Formative assessment is important and useful for getting feedback on students’ progress to identify and correct any possible errors. As a result, the teacher may change the methodology of developing speaking and listening skills, for example.
Reliability of Classroom Assessment
Reliability of classroom assessment is an arguable issue. Different teachers have different grading and evaluating standards. While, for example, some put more emphasis on the amount of work performed, others value quality more. Therefore, applying certain standards to the assessment itself also seems to be a problem to be solved.
It can be concluded that both formative and summative assessment procedures should be equally applied in the classroom. However, it seems that more stress in the modern education system is put upon summative assessment, and student’s performance is evaluated mainly by means of summative tests.
Most likely this is caused by the fact that summative assessment is much simpler to conduct, while it provide an objective picture of the students’ skills and knowledge. However, formative assessment should be applied in the classroom more often in order for a teacher to always have adequate current information about students’ learning needs.