Administering Summative Assessments During the 2020-21 SY

Assessing what learns during a unit of study requires using a summative assessment. However, with the 2020-2021 school year appearing so differently, the ways to administer summative assessments are not as easy as they once were. So, what are the best ways to assess student understanding amidst an educational system that is relying on a blend of in-class learning and distance learning?

Before looking at some summative assessment types that will work well in a blended learning environment, there are some other general ideas that should be considered.

  1. Provide a scoring guide. Always make the scoring guide or rubric available in advance. In preparation for summative assessments, inform students about what will be covered and how it will be graded. It is important that students understand the requirements and will be able to interpret the feedback.
  2. Use a variety of assessments. We will share some useful summative assessment types in this article, but it is imperative that not all summative assessments look the same. Students have various learning styles and can show what they know using different mediums. Offer summative assessment options or using different types of assessments is a convenient way to allow students to show what they know.
  3. Establish security guidelines. Many online programs have security features that will protect students from cheating. Emphasize password confidentiality with students and encourage a climate of ownership that allows students to understand the significance of academic honesty and the consequences of academic dishonesty.

Keeping these general tips in mind will help make the summative assessment process easier for students, teachers, and parents, but what types of assessments will work best?

  • Application-based assessments. While previous years may have relied more heavily on assessments filled with basic recall types of questions, the 2020-21 school year is a perfect opportunity to try out assessments that are more rigorous. Rather than focusing on the lower levels of Bloomś Taxonomy, work to create assessments that are more application-based. Through these types of assessments, students will have to apply what they learned.
  • Written essays. Asking students to organize their knowledge and understanding of key concepts into written essays is a great way to summatively assess students.
  • Portfolios. Have students create portfolios in e-learning platforms. These portfolios can be used to summatively show the student’s understanding of content. For example, consider having students pick different formative assessments that were part of the unit of study and then expanding or revising those assessments within the portfolio as the summative evaluation.
  • Presentations. There are many free resources available for students to create and share presentations. From video recordings to audio sound clips, having students create presentations as summative assessments works exceptionally well.

Even with the educational process looking so differently and requiring so much flexibility during 2020-21, it is still important to understand students´ growth and progress with new content. As part of this process, summative assessments are needed and should be given accordingly. Hopefully, these tips will make the summative assessment process less tedious and more of an opportunity for students and teachers alike to grow together.

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Anneda Nettleton

Anneda Nettleton

Ms. Anneda Nettleton is a veteran educator in Kentucky. Her professional interests include helping students become better communicators through written expression, integrating technology, and utilizing innovative activities to keep students engaged in learning. Anneda is a passionate educator and a seasoned curriculum freelance writer. Anneda is the proud mom of two precious children, Jeremiah and Jasmine. In her spare time, Anneda enjoys exploring new places with her kids.