Tienson-Tseng, H. L. (2019). Best Practices in Summative Assessment. In Biochemistry Education: From Theory to Practice (pp. 219-243). American Chemical Society.
In most of higher education, students are assigned grades based on an assessment of knowledge and skills they have after completing the course. This is known as summative assessment, and is different from formative assessment, which is used to provide feedback to students about their ongoing learning. Grades related to summative assessment are used to allow students to move on to higher level courses, as well as to evaluate the suitability of the student for graduate programs, professional schools, and/or employment. Thus, it is imperative that these assessments are as accurate, fair, and unbiased as possible. In order to accomplish this, the students must have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, the assessment must actually assess those skills, and the assignments must be evaluated consistently for every student. In addition to assigning grades, summative assessment can also be used to assess the overall effectiveness of instruction and therefore to inform curricular changes within the course or an entire program.