The Plymouth Public Schools is committed to enhancing the academic achievement of all students at all levels. Through assessments of student performance, academic achievement can be measured. Assessment in Mathematics encompasses everything from statewide accountability tests to district benchmarks or unit/chapter tests to everyday classroom quizzes or tests. In mathematics, students are assessed using both summative and formative type assessments.
Summative assessments are given periodically to determine at a particular point in time what students know and do not know. Many people associate summative assessments with standardized tests such as the MCAS, but in Plymouth, they are also used as part of district and classroom programs. Other examples of formative assessments include common assessments, end-of-unit tests, semester exams, and end-of-course exams.
The information gathered from a summative assessment is important; however, it can only help to inform certain aspects of instruction. Because this type of assessment is spread out and typically administered after instruction, it is often used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mathematics program, school improvement goals, and its alignment to the curriculum. It helps teachers assess student knowledge retained over a longer period of time and a student's ability to apply this knowledge.
Formative assessments are part of the everyday learning and teaching process. It informs instruction while it is happening and helps staff make daily decisions around curriculum and instruction. It also informs students about their current levels of understanding.
[Source: Association for Middle-Level Education]