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Formative, Summative and Placement Assessments

What is the purpose of formative , summative , and placement assessment methods? When would it be appropriate to use each type of assessment? Why?

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Everyone, knowingly or not, is well acquainted with the term assessment; what it means and what it is like to be the subject of one, or to use one for your own reasons. When we are young our parents assess whether or not we made our beds and cleaned our rooms to their standards. As teens we take drivers education and then our driving tests with hopes of attaining the freedom to come and go as we please, no longer dependent on parents or friends to shuttle us about the city.

In education, it is safe to assume that almost all of us have been subject to some form of assessment. The term assessment is accredited to the great variety of techniques or methods that educators use to evaluate, measure, and record the academic ability of each and every one of their students. Educators look to discern the student's readiness to learn a concept, how the student's learning is advancing through each subject and grade. This is an aspect of formal education entrenched in teaching methods.

I am going to discuss, with examples, three types of assessment methods used in education; Formative, Summative, and Placement, when and why each method may be used and conclude with an additional mention of some broader implications and uses for these assessment methods.

The What and When of Formative Assessments.

Formative assessments are what educators call a myriad of evaluation methods they utilize, on an individual student basis, while the lesson or instruction is happening.
Since formative assessments are used to provide the teacher with information on each student, in-process, it is not the format of the method but this use that makes it distinctive. This assessment can be remembered easily by thinking of it being used to help 'form' or 'inform' a student as they learn, not to judge or mark the student's skills. It is a tool to build with, not conclusively assess student work.

Why use Formative Assessments?

Students can be assessed in a formative way for their comprehension of a subject, their specific learning needs in relation to the topic being currently taught, and to determine the level of their academic progression during a lesson or subject unit. Formative assessments ...

Solution Summary

A discussion of three types of assessment commonly used by educators. When and why these assessments are used, with examples provided of each.