Formative And Summative Assessment

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The impact of formative assessment on student’s learning and achievement in South Africa and The United States
The purpose of this paper is to examine the tensions between formative and summative assessments with a review of how they impact student learning and achievement for South African and American students.
Introduction
Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development (Palomba & Banta, 1999). Assessment is frequently divided into summative assessment and formative assessment. The distinction between formative and summative is made mainly in terms of purpose and timing, in formative assessment the positive achievements of a pupil may be recognised and discussed and the appropriate next steps may be planned, whereas summative assessment is the recording of the overall achievement of a pupil in a systematic way (DES/WO, 1988, para. 23).
It has been argued that all assessments can be considered summative, but only some of them are formative (Tyler, Gagne, & Scriven, 1967). Some however favor formative assessments over summative assessments. There is a critical point to consider when thinking about summative assessment; can test scores be used to inform us about our teaching and learning? Oftentimes it does not inform us very well. Students' ability and achievement in learning are not measurable by one single test. Even if they can reveal some problems
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