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Summative Assessment

Summative assessment, also referred to as long-cycle assessment, refers to the assessment of learning at a particular point in time and typically have higher stakes for the student and/or teacher. Summative assessment is meant to summarize a learner’s development and frequently takes the form of end of unit tests, essays, culminating projects, semester finals, and state-level annual tests. Similar to interim assessments, they occur at specific points in the academic year and serve an important role within the balanced system.

At the classroom level, summative assessment is generally used as part of the grading process. At the school and district level, common summative assessment is used to inform decisions about student placement, certification, curriculum and school- and district-wide implementation of programs. At the state level, annual standardized assessments are administered to establish if enough students are meeting required standards to inform superintendents, school boards, legislators, and the public.

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