321R - Formative and Summative Assessments

A. The purpose of formative assessment (or assessment for learning) shall be to inform the teacher and the student of student progress, and for the teacher to adapt instruction to meet the learning readiness of the student. Formative assessment provides information that is used as feedback as the learning is taking place, enabling the student to reflect on his/her own learning and evaluate his/her own work while also allowing the teacher to modify the teaching and learning activities to enhance that learning.

B. Formative assessment includes frequent, informal and ungraded assessment of student progress and understanding. Rather than a single event, formative assessment is a process that is ongoing while the learning is taking place. Although written or verbal feedback is provided, formative assessment is not graded.

C. The following activities, while not a comprehensive list, may be considered examples of formative assessments:
  • Observation 
  • Written work 
  • Homework 
  • Student discourse 
  • Performance tasks and/or labs 
  • District-level common (“benchmark”) assessments 
D.The purpose of summative assessments (or assessment of learning) shall be to evaluate student learning at the end of that learning process. In summative assessments, students are evaluated against an identified standard. Summative assessments are given with sufficient frequency as to gauge student learning on a given topic, skill, chapter, or unit. Summative assessments are cumulative evaluations used to measure student growth after instruction to determine whether long-term learning goals have been met.

E. The following activities may be considered examples of summative assessments: 
  • State Standards of Learning assessments 
  • Advanced Placement exams 
  • Industry credential exams 
  • Classroom tests 
  • Projects, performances, and labs. 
  • Final essays 
  • Final research projects 
F. Teachers will determine the most appropriate way to conduct summative assessments based upon course objectives. Determination of when and how to assess may be made by a specific teacher in collaboration with the principal, instructional supervisor, other team teachers, or other departments.

G. Summative assessments shall be aligned with the curriculum and teaching objectives for the concept, chapter, and/or unit being assessed. Effective assessments require students to interpret, analyze, evaluate, draw conclusions, and make connections. As appropriate, summative assessments shall require students to engage in thoughtful, relevant and meaningful problem solving activities.

H. Summative assessments shall evaluate student understanding of curriculum-based concepts only. Students shall not be graded on behavior, such as neatness, creativity, or teamwork unless such skill is part of the curriculum. 

1. Teachers and instructional leaders must assure the assessment is administered in a way that maintains the integrity and validity of the assessment. This includes assessments that may involve work outside of the class. Summative assessments determine the degree to which students have command of the content, skills, and processes independent of others’ assistance. Assessment accommodations noted in a student’s IEP must be provided.

2. Teachers are encouraged to collaboratively develop common assessments.


Approved: August 26, 1994
Amended: September 2, 1994
Amended: June 26, 1995
Amended: July 17, 2002
Amended: August 6, 2003
Amended: December 17, 2014 
Amended: August 19, 2015