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Formative and Summative Assessments

An important attribute in a positive learning culture is the Assessment Process. Designed to elicit evidence of learning with high fidelity, it provides the information educators need to determine where the learner is in their progress toward the intended learning goals. The fidelity of evidence, indicating mastery, is tightly scrutinized and aligned to the learning goals defined by respective success criteria. It is important to use multiple sources of evidence to draw accurate conclusions about the learner's mastery, so effective planning with segmented assessments are utilized throughout the school year.

Another important aspect of a positive learning culture is the learner's ability to expect and accept feedback in order to reflect on and make changes to evidence of understanding and mastery. Through formative feedback, defined as feedback while learning is taking place, students are coached to see feedback as an integral part of the learning process. In a grade centric, or exclusively summative assessment learning culture, feedback can promote discouragement and avoidance from the learner. With a formative feedback environment, feedback is given for learning as students are encouraged to explore, analyze and edit evidence of skill mastery. Educators coach the learner to view formative feedback, even if initially viewed as "failing", to be part of a healthy learning culture. Students accept and assimilate formative feedback as an intentional element to growth, maturation and academic success.

Summative assessments are assessments used to determine whether students have learned what they were expected to learn. In other words, what makes an assessment “summative” is not the design of the test, assessment, or self-evaluation, per se, but the way it is used—i.e., to determine whether, and to what degree, students have learned the material they have been taught. Summative assessments are evidence of learning and are used to evaluate students’ skill acquisition and reflect academic achievement at the conclusion of a defined instructional period. 

Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac promotes a learning culture and Assessment Process aligned with the Educational Project of the Sisters of the Company of Mary and the overall mission of the school. Formative Assessments, as well as Summative Assessments, are deliberate and used by educators during and after instruction. The assessment process provides actionable data used to adjust ongoing instruction and planning in order to improve each learner’s attainment of skill mastery relating to curricular learning goals and respective success criteria.