Winter is coming. But first, summative assessments and student learning.

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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As winter break approaches and students prepare for final exams and projects, instructors are busy writing and grading those finals and discovering how well students actually understood the material. With the mix of available virtual and in-person courses, the consideration of different types of assessments becomes very complex. 

Courses in STEM disciplines often cover a large amount of material that tends to encourage superficial learning instead of the more ideal deep approach to learning. Additionally, STEM courses seem to have a threatening and anxiety-provoking assessment system. 

Summative assessment is the assessment of student learning; it is usually an exam, final project or report that provides a score on that student’s performance but rarely offers timely or effective feedback. But these final exams and evaluations are inherently necessary in the framework of our education system. What remains is to learn how to use summative assessment as a learning tool. Consider the ideas in the table below for your own test-taking processes.

During the test

Collaborative test-taking

Pyramid exams

Immediate feedback assessment technique

Self-corrected exams

Prior to return of the test


After the return of the test

Highlighting missed material


Test analysis


How do you make use of summative assessments?

Explore the various types of assessments and strategies for their use in Assessment in the College Classroom.