ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Teaching

What is a Summative Evaluation?

Updated on June 2, 2013

Seaman takes his Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) aboard the USS Kitty Hawk


Common Summative Assessment Instruments

Here is a list of common summative assessment tools or instruments:

  • state-mandated tests
  • benchmark assessments
  • interim assessments (such as midterm exams)
  • end-of-unit or end-of-chapter tests
  • semester or end-of-term tests (such as final exams)


Summative Evaluations or Assessments Measure Student Growth

Summative evaluations, also called summative assessments or culminating activities, measure student growth in learning after instruction. These assessments are designed to measure long term teaching and learning goals and student retention of curricular content taught. As such, they provide outcome data on student achievement, rather than on effort or student aptitude. A main focus of these types of tests, therefore, is on identifying the student's level of mastery of core content or academic subject area.

Summative Tests Also Measure Effectiveness of Instruction

Summative assessments, evaluations, or tests are the accountability measure of instruction. While the data these assessments provide is used to determine students' unit or final grades, it should (it must) also be used to determine the effectiveness of the method(s) selected to present the information (the instructional methods) and of the methods or instruments used to check for students' understanding at various points during instruction (the formative assessments)

Use Summative Data Outcomes to Measure Your Own Teaching

As a teacher, the results, or outcomes, of summative assessments are invaluable for checking your own effectiveness (and it will be used to evaluate you as a teacher by your school's administrative team, have no doubt). A well-constructed summative assessment instrument will take students across the Bloom's Taxonomy:

  • can the student recall or remember the information taught? (Remembering/Knowledge, on the Bloom's Taxonomy charts (new and old versions))
  • can the student explain the ideas or concepts taught? (Understanding/Comprehension)
  • can the student use the information taught in a new way? (Applying/Application)
  • can the student distinguish between the different parts of the material taught? (Analyzing/Analysis)
  • can the student defend an opinion, a stand, or a decision based on the material taught? (Evaluating/Synthesis)
  • can the student create a new product or point of view based on the material taught? (Creating, on the new version of the Bloom's Taxonomy chart)

How does your summative instrument measure up? Does it take students across the long-term learning spectrum, based on Bloom's Taxonomy of learning? How do your students measure up? Where are most of your students' (as a pool, a group of learners) major weaknesses? Strengths?

Use this data to create reteaching lessons before you officially end a unit or chapter, or weave the ideas and concepts to be reinforced into the next one.

Outcome Data Is Used for Program or Curricular Decision-Making

Ultimately, the outcome data from summative assessments should be pooled and used as a program accountability tool. The pooled student outcome data from summative evaluations or tests should (and, again, must) be used to check the accuracy of the program's stated or established goals and the effectiveness of the methods used to accomplish these program or curricular goals.

Assessment Data Should Not Be Used to Punish

Assessment data should never be used to punish either students, teachers or programs. Assessment data must be used to improve student learning outcomes, as well as teacher or program effectiveness.


Submit a Comment

  • everymom profile image

    Anahi Pari-di-Monriva 5 years ago from Massachusetts

    Thanks, Randi!

  • btrbell profile image

    Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

    Great explanation! As a former student, teacher and current parent , I love the way you broke this down and explained it so well. I have often seen tests used as a form of punishment versus assessment that I forgot what a useful tool it is! Thank you for the thorough explanation! Up, useful and interesting!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)