Summative Assessment or Evaluation is an assessment of participants that focuses on the outcome of a program. It is in contrast with the formative assessment that focuses on the development of participants over a period. Michael Scriven, an academic philosopher or polymath, claims all assessments are formative, only some are summative.
In the words of Paul Black, an assessment expert, when the cook tastes the soup, its’ a formative assessment. When the customer tastes the soup, it’s an assessment.
The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate the learning progression of a student by comparing the progress against a benchmark. However, the end does not mean the end of an entire module. A summative assessment can include an end-of-unit test or an end-of-term test.
The result of a summative assessment is often recorded as scores that are ultimately factored into their report card. Some examples of summative assessments are the standardized tests often employed by states to test students for their learning.
Often, some summative assessments can be used diagnostically. By analyzing the available student data, a teacher can infer the areas where a student is likely to struggle. They can further use this information to help them prepare for future tests.