Archive for the 'Summative' Category

Contractors – Summative and Formative Assessment

I had several contractors in to give me estimates for some changes to my house.  The first one measured the room and left.  The second one measured the room and then spent double that time in asking me questions about the room and the house. I went with the second one because he understood what I wanted and how that fit in with the rest of the house.

I see the first contractor as a summative assessment- get a number and leave.  The second contractor was formative. He had numbers but he needed to know what those numbers meant in terms of what I expected in terms of the room (the end goal) and in terms of the whole house (all the other data from the house). He gave me several suggestions for improvements (getting me from where I am to where I want to be) and let me select the one I felt was the most helpful.

Which type teaching contractor are you- summative or formative?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

My Formative Assessment Book Published

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, was published by Eye on Education. I just got my copy.

I’m proud of the book since I included so many practical suggestions. I’ve read too many articles and books that talk about formative assessment. In fact, I just finished a book about feedback that was very general. It took a very long time to say very little. Very few writings take it to the classroom level with specifics. So my book has many examples for the sections of building in student responses, monitoring, diagnosing, formative feedback, time for growth, reporting and celebrating. It is meant to be a bank of easy to implement ideas.

I reread it last night. I begin thinking more about some of the activities and realized that I can modify some of my present activities to be even more formative, helping my students to begin to walk on the path to success.

Waterfalls, Summative and Formative Assessment

I like to visit waterfalls. There are two general types of waterfalls. In one the water falls all the way from the top to the bottom. Meanwhile, in the other type, the water hits several layers of rocks, therefore the water cascades.

I think that the total drop water fall  is like the summative tests we give students. The results are given at the end of the year or semester. It has no impact on the students’ learning movement within the course. In a formative assessment process, We do not just check the students’ progress just once but we check many times. We find out if we have to redirect their movement. We can see small successes steps that lead to the big success in the standard.

Quarterly Benchmarks Programs and the Role of Teachers

Many companies are now selling quarterly or more frequent benchmarking of the students. The companies make it sound like the benchmarking will solve the educational woes of teachers and schools. I agree that benchmarking can provide a valuable summative assessment of the student. Unless the benchmark specifies what the student can do to improve than the benchmark is summative, not formative. The teachers have to spend time going through the data to figure out what each student needs. If a school’s solution is for a computer program to diagnose and then give formative feedback (i.e. have the student do certain activities which the benchmark happens to provide), I wonder what the role of a teacher becomes. Do teachers in such environments simply become managers instead of instructional classroom leaders? Does all their expertize get thrown away since the computer program does it all? Teachers could be working with small groups of students but then the benchmarking program would not have that information to keep track of students’ progress. How do teachers integrate these benchmarks into their class?

Changing a Test from Summative to Formative

How does a test change from being a summative (end of unit, no more work on it) to a formative one (ongoing learning)?

One technique is to assess the test against a specific rubric or checklist. When a student is missing something, you circle it. A student can easily see what he/she did not do.

First paragraph/sentence Details Paragraphs Closing paragraph

Requirements for a direct request order letter

However, correcting a test is summative unless the student can learn from the test. Since the student can see by looking at what is circled, what he/she is missing, the student can see his/her gaps in learning. The next step is for the student to re-take that part of the test now that he/she knows what his/her gaps are and how to correct them. In addition, the section of the textbook is indicated if the student has additional question.

The success of this method is when the student hands in the revised test to demonstrate his/her learning. A wonderful climax is for the student then to be given another letter of this type to do to fully demonstrate his/her new learning.

Are your tests summative or formative? If they are formative, how do you make them formative so that the students learns what the gaps in learning are and fills in those gaps to be a proficient student?

Online Grading Program Misses Being Formative


I talked to an educator whose school implemented a new online program that keeps track of the attendance and puts the homework assignments and quiz dates online for students and parents. After the work has been graded or a test scored, the grades can be released online. I applaud this program for making students and parents aware of what topical information is going to be covered and then providing the grading on these. This creates a grading accountability.

However, I think that the program is typical of a summative approach to learning. There is no learning accountability. If the program had a comment box where teachers could put in a comment or two about specific ways for the students to improve then the students would know how to be successful in the course. They could do better academically in the class. Such an online program would be formative and not grade-this-quiz summative. Likewise if each homework or quiz was labeled with a specific standard such as 1.1 or 2.3, then the program could report on standard learning accountability. If the program could group all quizzes and homeworks by the standard, such as all 1.1 work, then the online program could report out standard learning success. Parents and students would know more than just grades, they would know how far their child had progressed in each of the standards.

What does your online grading program do?

Summative or Formative Teacher and Technology Use?

Formative or Summative Teaching and Technology

During the past two years, I have visited two hearing specialists. Both diagnosed me with the same condition. My usual specialist reported the results and said, “See you next year for your yearly exam.” The other specialist reported the results, explained techniques I could use to make it easier to hear, and asked to see me in a year.
Which specialist are you like? Do you tell your students to check in with you at the next unit exam? Or do you tell them how to improve before the next exam?

Do you have them produce a technology-based final product or do you provide them with scaffolded technology-based learning so that they can be be successful?

Do you have them take their final unit test online or do you provide them with voluntary mini-quizzes online during the unit and then the final unit test?

How do you use technology to help your students be successful standards-based learners?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Course Management System As Assessment for Student Learning

Ideal Course Management System

What would my ideal “course management” system be? The system would be used primarily for recording, analyzing, and reporting formative assessment results and suggestions for improvement. This would include teacher, peer and self-assessments. A secondary use would be for summative assessments such as assignments and tests which would be proficiency based. Also in the summative section would be results from the previous years, last state test or from practice state tests recorded by proficiency. This section would also include past year’s proficiency-based grades, attendance, and other personal data. A tercerary use would be for an eportfolio (both formative and summative use). If the eportfolio was developed over a series of Eportfolio planning days, then both students and teachers could use it as a formative assessment for student improvement.

At any given moment a teacher would be able to see a multitude of data that clearly shows the number story of a student’s progress in the proficiency. The proficiency data would be visually displayed through graphs and charts. Likewise, a teacher could have an overview of all students’ progress in a certain standard. The system would produce a “report card” which focuses on each student’s progress in the standard with suggestions for improvement in any less than proficient areas. The grading would be on a scale such as Exemplary, Proficient, Nearing Proficiency, and Developing Proficiency that all teachers and students understand.

The system would allow any teacher in a subject area to see summary information from any other teacher in that subject area at that grade level, the lower grade level, and the higher grade level.

Students would have access to this information so that they could monitor their own progress. Likewise, parents/guardians would have access to the information.

The system would have value-added assessment since teachers, students and parents could see the growth of a student over years..

So what does your course management system focus on? Formative? Summative? Eportfolio? Which will most benefit your students? Or which combination?


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Black’s Formative Assessment Research: How much do you know about your students?

Formative to Successful Summative Assessment

Black’s meta-analysis of research on formative assessment asserts the critical importance of formative assessment. He found that formative assessment has an “effect size of .4 to .7. These effect sizes are larger than most of those found for educational interventions. An effect gain of .7 in recent international comparative studies in math would have raised the score of a nation in the middle of the pack of 41 countries (i.e. the U.S.) to one of the top five.”

Implementing formative assessment involves these issues:

– It will require a significant change in classroom practice (more focus on formative assessments based on the standards)

– Students have to be actively involved in their learning and their own assessment.

– The results of formative assessment will be used to adjust teaching and learning.

“Do I really know enough about the understanding of my pupils to be able to help each of them?”

Do you? How do you use technology to guide you in collecting and analyzing formative assessment?





Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.



© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007



Three Steps to Improving Students’ Learning: From Formative to Summative Success

Pretest Refocus Formative and High Quality Learning

Three simple steps to improving student learning.

Give them a pretest or pre-assessment based on the standard. Analyze the results using a spreadsheet or online tool.
Refocus your instruction for the upcoming lesson to focus on the components of the standard in which the students have shown the greatest weakness. Use a word process to modify the lesson and your proposed activities.

Give frequent formative assessments that inform students of their progress and allows them to improve. Provide alternate strategies so they can drive their car of learning to success instead of their crashing in misunderstanding.

Celebrate in the high achievement of your students on your standards-base summative “test”.

Share your success stories about using these three steps and technology.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Formative or Summative Assessment of Student Learning With Technology

Formative or Summative Assessment With Technology

I think that most teachers use technology for summative (final) assessments such as putting test grades into a grading program. The technology serves as an archiving system and then a calculating the grade for the 10 weeks or semester sytem.

Why don’t we use technology for formative (growth) assessments such as giving a sample benchmark exam, analyzing it using a spreadsheet, working on the parts with the lowest score, and retesting to see student growth? Or to constantly monitor students’ progress through a complex task such as essay writing. If we assess each essay using the state writing rubric and record those scores in a spreadsheet, we can monitor the growth of our students in each aspect of their writing.

After asking the attendees at several presentations, I would guess that technology is used for summative about 95% of the time and for formative about 5% of the time.

Is your use of technology formative or summative? If it is summative, how you can change it to be formative so that you can measure student growth on a standard over time?


RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior ( Equally important, a letter […]
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]

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