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Diagnostic, Formative and Summative Assessment Used in the Classroom to Provide a

Positive Learning Environment for all


Candice Gallant
Assessments should motivate and encourage students and make them feel
successful. Effective assessment in the classroom informs the teacher of students
understandings and difficulties, the effectiveness of their own teaching strategies and
provides students with valuable feedback. In order to have a classroom where assessment
is seen as positive and not negative, I will use diagnostic assessment, formative
assessment and summative assessment to enhance student and teacher learning.
I believe that diagnostic assessment is important in the classroom to evaluate the
students current knowledge. Assessment for learning is an investigation tool that can be
used at the beginning of a new unit to help determine what students already know about a
specific topic and as a result, it helps the teacher plan their lesson based on students
current understanding. Diagnostic assessment can also be useful for teachers to get to
know their students. One of the most important things for me as a teacher is to connect
with the students. I believe diagnostic assessment can help me learn about the students
interests, which I would then incorporate into my lessons.
I will use formative assessment (assessment for learning/assessment as learning)
in my classroom to evaluate my students progress throughout the term. Formative
assessment must be useful, planned and prepare the students for summative assessments.
I think that students need to be assessed frequently so the teacher can see what the
students are still struggling with and what needs to be revisited. It is also important for
the students to see where they are making mistakes and what areas they need
improvement. Formative assessment provides teachers with the opportunity to give
students positive feedback on their work and provide details of areas they need to
improve in. If all students were struggling with a particular area in the unit, the teacher
would see this through formative assessment and then they would be able to adjust the
way the concept is taught. When I am a teacher, I will use formative assessments as a
way to see what my students have understood from what was taught in class and what
they are struggling with by using exit slips, learning journals, entrance slips, group
activities and class discussions, etc. I will use formative assessment to provide students
with positive feedback, contextual statements and constructive criticism. I believe
formative assessment should be used to help form adjustments that need to be made or
further understanding; therefore this type of assessment should be used to indicate
progression of students.
The last type of assessment I will use in my classroom is summative assessment
(assessment of learning). This is used to assess students understanding at the end of the
unit or at the end of a term. I believe that a summative assessment should be given when
students have shown success and understanding on their formative assessments.
Summative assessments should only include the knowledge students have learned during
the unit or class; nothing should be unexpected to the students. It is important to me to

work with students to formulate the grading criteria. This way students will know
exactly what is expected of them and they will be more engaged because they helped
with the criteria. Summative assessments could vary from projects, exams, presentations,
or tests. Students should be able to decide how they are summatively assessed because
every individual is unique and prefer different ways of showing what they know.
Students should receive the rubric for how the assessment is going to be marked so they
can use it as a guideline to make sure they incorporate everything expected of them. It is
also beneficial to show students exemplar work so they can see what good work looks
like and what not so good work looks like. This helps students strive to do their best and
provides a clear visual of what is expected.
I think that assessments are not only a learning process for the teacher, but for the
students as well. When students feel more ownership and have choice in their learning
they are more likely to invest time and energy in it (Earl, 2006, p.7). I believe it is
important for students and teachers to work collaboratively to decide on how marking in
the class will take place. Instead of taking the teacher is boss approach it is important
for the teacher to allow students to provide feedback and make suggestions on rubrics and
the type of assignments they are given in class. When making up deadlines in class for
assignments I would allow the class to pick the date because they would have a greater
initiative to get it done on time. I think it is important for teachers to allow students to
have make up tests or have the chance to redo assignments that were poorly done in order
to receive a better mark. Practice makes perfect is a quote we must remember as
teachers. When students make mistakes they are not going to learn by being punished,
they will learn by doing and redoing to realize and understand the mistakes they made. I
believe it is important for teachers to be a known source of guidance for their students.
Assessment should be more than grading and evaluating work. If teachers use
assessment in a positive way students will begin to see assessment as a way of showing
what they learned and feel proud about their accomplishments. It is important for
teachers to communicate with students what is expected of them rather than handing
them an assignment and expecting them to do it with no explanation. Teachers must
encourage students to learn and show the students that they want them to succeed.
Assessment is meant to help both students and teachers become better learners and
educators. As I continue to grow as a teacher, my philosophy will also continue to
evolve.

References
Black, P. (2002). Working Inside the Black Box: Assessment for Learning in the
Classroom. London: NferNelson.
Earl, L. (2006). Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind: Assessment for
Learning, Assessment as Learning, Assessment of Learning. Winnipeg: Manitoba
Education, Citizenship and Youth.