Skip to Main Content

Teaching & Learning Center Resources

Summative Assessment: Home


Summative Assessment

What is it?

The purpose of using summative assessments is to assess student comprehension at the end of an instructional time frame (lesson, unit, semester, etc). 


Educators collect evidence with the purpose of evaluating and measuring students’ skills or comprehension of the content.


Unlike formative assessments, summative assessments are assessments of learning. 

  • High stakes, with many points attached

  • Typically take more class time

  • Demonstrates what students know or can do based on the course goals (usually a range of skills and knowledge)

Examples and Implementation

Assessment technique Description Benefits

A culminating collection of work samples, projects, and evaluations over time to provide evidence of achievement. Typically accompanied by student goal setting, reflections and feedback from educators.

  • Demonstrates actual performance over time

  • Opportunity to provide valuable feedback. 

  • Monitors progress and growth.

End of Unit Exam (Multiple Choice and Short Answer Questions)

Multiple choice questions (MCQs) are a selected response instrument consisting of a stem or case/problem description, a lead-in question prompt, and a list of answer options. 

Short answer questions are answered via an open-ended response and graded based on a predetermined exemplary answer. 


  • Efficiently evaluates a broad range of knowledge and application in a single assessment.

  • Easy to create question items.

  • Reasonable content coverage.

  • Options for automated grading available