Summative Assessments

End-of-Unit Assessments

At the end of each unit is the end-of-unit assessment. These assessments are intended to gauge students’ understanding of the key concepts of the unit while also preparing students for new-generation standardized exams. Problem types include multiple choice, multiple response, short answer, restricted constructed response, and extended response. Problems vary in difficulty and depth of knowledge.

Teachers may choose to grade these assessments in a standardized fashion, but may also choose to grade more formatively by asking students to show and explain their work on all problems. Teachers may also decide to make changes to the provided assessments to better suit their needs. If making changes, teachers are encouraged to keep the format of the problem types provided, and to include problems of different types and different levels of difficulty.

All summative assessment problems include a complete solution and standard alignment. Multiple choice and multiple response problems often include a reason for each potential error a student might make. 

Unlike formative assessments, problems on summative assessments generally do not prescribe a method of solution.

End-of-Course Assessment and Resources

The End-of-Course Assessment and Resources consist of three types of items. The first and longest portion consists of items that assess the major work of the grade. These items are similar in type and format to the end-of-unit assessments students have completed throughout the year, focused on key work of the grade. These can be used in order to decide where to focus attention in the final unit. Rather than giving them all at once, we recommend selecting items related to a section of the final unit and using these to decide how much time to spend on that set of lessons.

Next, there are some fluency items that target the key fluencies for each grade. These are much smaller in number and they come in two forms:

  • pre-chosen calculations of different levels of difficulty
  • games that have an element of chance and strategy which can be used as a classroom activity that gives the teacher an opportunity to observe strategies students use as they play

Finally, there is one or more in-depth problem. These are usually focused on supporting work of the grade that provides a context where students apply the key ideas they have learned over the year. These can be used as classroom activities, or in some cases, as entire lessons. They are all intended to encourage modeling, that is, applying appropriate grade-level tools in order to solve problems.

Design Principles for Summative Assessments

Students should get the correct answer on assessment problems for the right reasons, and get incorrect answers for the right reasons. To help with this, our assessment problems are targeted and short, use consistent, positive wording, and have clear, undebatable correct responses.

In multiple choice problems, distractors are common errors and misconceptions directly related to what is being assessed, since problems are intended to test whether the student has proficiency with a specific skill. The distractors serve as a diagnostic, giving teachers the chance to quickly see which of the most common errors are being made. There are no “trick” questions, and in earlier grades students are told how many answers to select on multiple select problems.

When a multiple response prompt does not give the number of correct responses, it always includes the phrase “select all” to clearly indicate their type. Each part of a multiple response problem addresses a different piece of the same overall skill, again serving as a diagnostic for teachers to understand which common errors students are making.

Short answer, restricted constructed response, and extended response problems are carefully designed to avoid the “double whammy” effect, where a part of the problem asks for students to use correct work from a previous part. This choice is made to ensure that students have all possible opportunities to show proficiency on assessments.

When possible, extended response problems provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate understanding of the content being assessed, through some combination of words, diagrams, and equations.