Summative Assessment Ideas

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Summative assessments are ways to assess comprehension of a topic at the end of unit, project or course. This lesson discusses common summative assessment options and provides unique ideas as well.

Summative Assessments

A summative assessment is a way for you to evaluate your students' knowledge or skill level. Summative assessmentsare performed after you have finished teaching a topic or subject. Some of the most common examples summative assessments include:

  • Tests
  • Quizzes
  • Written Reports
  • Recitals

However, there are other types of summative assessments that can be done, depending on the subject you teach. Let's take a look at more unique summative assessment ideas by subject.

Social Science Summative Assessments

Social science topics include economics, history, philosophy, religion, and culture. The variety lends itself well to creative summative assessments.

Scavenger Hunt

Create questions based on a topic you just studied or a chapter that you just read in class. Pass the questions out to other teachers and education support staff around the school. Send students to each of your colleagues in turn, telling the students that they must answer each question presented to them to get the next clue/question in the scavenger hunt. Since research is such an important part of social science, you can allow students to research the answer to the question if necessary to move forward in the scavenger hunt. You can think of this as an open-book test.

Film Project

Split students into groups of four. Ask each group to write and film a 5-10 minute movie based on the topic or subject, such as Columbus and his trip to America. Completed movies should be presented in class so that you can see what they know about the topic and so that students can solidify their comprehension by viewing the work of their peers.

Subject Maps

Place a textual representation of a topic you just studied in the center of a poster board. For example: World War II. Ask students to place words (written on index cards or construction paper) and images (cut from magazines or drawn on construction paper) on the board to represent main ideas associated with the topic in the center of the board. For example, students can place images of Italy or pictures of Hitler to represent countries and figures who contributed to the war. Then, ask each student to explain what has been placed on the board and how it relates to the topic in the center.

Science Summative Assessments

Some teachers use chemistry experiments or biology dissections as summative assessments at the end of a topic, but there are many other types of project-based assessments that can be used in a science classroom.

Biological Mapping

Ask students to create a family tree or Punnett square that shows the recessive and dominant genes of themselves and their family members. This project will help you gauge what your students know about genetics.

Scientific Modeling

Scientists use models for research and to demonstrate what they have discovered through research. Students can do the same thing by making models of DNA, amoebas, or even protein synthesis to demonstrate what they learned from a science unit or a chapter in their science textbook. To make sure students really comprehend the subject, you should ask them to clearly label and explain different parts of the model.

Science Fair

Science fair projects require students to apply what they have learned, so hosting a class-based science fair is a good way to assess what students know about a particular topic. For example, if you are studying electricity, you can ask your students to create individual science projects related to this topic. Then, you can have a fair that displays all of the projects and gets other students excited about science.

Math Summative Assessments

Creative assignments are a good way to engage students in math. The same is true of summative assessments. If you can assess your students' knowledge in a fun way, is often easier for them to engage with the material and show you what they really know about math concepts.

Crossword Puzzle Example

Crossword Puzzle

Ask students to complete a crossword puzzle that can only be solved by finding answers to math equations or word puzzles. For example, one of the clues could be 1/4 is an example of a _____. (The answer is fraction.)

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