The following definitions are provided to clarify the terms used in this section of TKCalifornia:
- provides evidence related to mastery of long- or medium-term goals or standards and is most often used by institutions and programs to evaluate student progress over time and to facilitate program effectiveness;
- includes end-of-year standardized assessments, unit tests, midterms, final tests and projects, etc.;
- is administered periodically, from every few weeks to once a year; and,
- is retrospective and “summarizes” what students have learned rather than providing evidence about current performance. Although educators might consider summative evidence to make generalizations about what individual students or groups appear to know at a given point, its value in shaping daily instruction is limited.
Diagnostic Assessment or Pre-assessment provides information about what the student has already learned and enables educators to make initial evidenced-based decisions about placement in programs and/or information for initial instructional planning.
Interim/Progress Monitoring Assessment provides evidence of progress toward standards several times during the year. Although interim assessments are often used in a summative manner to document student growth, the data they provide can often be used formatively to modify instruction during the next trimester, unit, etc.