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CBC Connect: Formative Assessment Vs Summative Assessment

Formative and summative assessments are two distinct types of assessments used in the Competency Based Curriculum education to evaluate learners’ learning progress and achievements.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessments are assessments administered during the learning process and are used to identify gaps to improve learning. This is done so that teachers can make changes in teaching and learning based on what learners need. Formative Assessments may include:

• Classroom Assessments i.e classroom discussions, quizzes and Practice Exercises
• School Based Assessments i.e Opening, Mid-term assessments

Formative Assessments are designed to generate feedback on learner performance by finding out what learners know and do not know and continually monitoring learner progress during learning. Both teachers and learners are involved in decisions about the next steps in learning.

Teachers use the feedback from formative tasks to identify what learners are struggling with and adjust instruction appropriately. This could involve re-teaching key concepts, changing how they teach or modifying teaching resources to provide learners with additional support. Learners also use feedback from formative tasks to reflect on and improve their own work.

Summative Assessments

On the other hand, Summative Assessments are assessments administered at the end of a learning period and are usually aimed at evaluating knowledge, skills and proficiency of a learner. Summative Assessments provides learners, teachers and parents with an understanding of the learner’s overall learning. Most commonly thought of as formal, time-specific exams, these assessments may include:
• Projects
• Reports or research experiments.
• National Examination like the ones offered by KNEC/KPSEA.

These assessments are designed to measure the learner’s achievement relative to the subject’s overall learning goals as set out in the relevant curriculum standards. The design and goals of summative assessments are generally standardized so they can be applied to large numbers of learners, multiple cohorts and time periods. Data collected on individual learners, school or system performance provides schools or a National Examination body with a tool to evaluate learners’ knowledge relative to the learning objectives. The data can also be used to compare them with previous cohorts and other schools.

In summary, formative assessments are ongoing, informal evaluations that provide feedback for improving learning, while summative assessments are formal evaluations conducted at the end of a learning period to summarize a student’s overall performance. Both types of assessments serve different purposes within the education system and contribute to a holistic understanding of a student’s progress and achievements.

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