Types of Assessments

Formative assessment and summative assessment are two overlapping, complementary ways of assessing student progress in schools. While the common goal is to establish the development, strengths and weaknesses of each student, each assessment type provides different insights and actions for educators.

Formative Assessments are planned classroom practice to elicit evidence of learning minute to minute, day by day in the classroom. They can inform teachers of what students know or do not know, help students understand what it is they are ready to learn next, so teachers can adjust their instruction accordingly for each of their students.

Interim/Benchmark Assessments are administered at different intervals throughout the year to evaluate student knowledge and skills relative to a specific set of academic goals. Results are used to inform instruction and decision making at the classroom, school and district level, and can be used to measure student growth over time.

An example of a benchmark assessment is NWEA.

Summative Assessments are state or district-wide standardized tests that measure grade-level proficiency, and end-of-year subject or course exams. An example of a summative assessment is MEA.