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Summative assessments are designed to evaluate student learning according to a benchmark. These high stakes assessments contribute to a student’s final grade and include midterms, final exams, major projects, presentations or papers.

Formative assessments are designed to give students opportunities to practice, learn and grow. Quizzes and polls are good low-stakes formative assessment options that can be offered frequently.

Summative Assessments 

Tests and Quizzes 

Many of us were educated on a model of testing that involved one or two tests each semester. Research shows that using frequent low-stakes quizzes can enhance student learning. Also, allowing students to review previous homework, quizzes, or exams and labeling what learning outcomes relate to each assessment can help them identify challenges and focus their efforts on the relevant information to be successful.  

Review these tests and quizzes best practice resources: 

NOTE: UTSA uses Honorlock proctoring software to secure testing for your students. Students launch their proctored exam right in Canvas and Honorlock can provide live assistance in real-time. For more, visit Using Honorlock with Canvas and our Academic Integrity site. 

Student Presentations 

Presentation skills are highly sought after in the workplace. They also add another tool for assessing student learning.  Whether you are assigning a 3-minute report or a 30-minute group presentation, it’s important to have the right tools for assignments, instruction and assessment. For more, visit our Student Presentations site.   

Group Projects 

The ability to work in groups is one of the top requirements of employers. Students, on the other hand, tend to not like group work.  This comes from years of experience with dysfunctional teams caused by a lack of instruction on how to work successfully in a group. The good news is that we have resources to help you help your students. For more, visit our Group Projects site.  

Formative Assessments 

Formative assessments are diagnostic and provide feedback for instructors and students to allow for changes that improve learning.  By conducting frequent and on-going assessments, you can make changes to your instruction and students can reflect on how to improve their learning.

Formative assessments can be done at the beginning of the class to get a baseline understanding of student knowledge and skills or at any point as you move through the semester to fine-tune your teaching. Polls, surveys, one-minute papers, and think-pair-share activities are all ways to find out what students are learning and thinking in your course.  You can learn more about these strategies by visiting Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachersand Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for your Classroom. (both available in the UTSA library). 

UTSA provides the following tools for faculty to create formative assessment activities. Click each tool link to learn more.

  • iClickers – now using a cloud platform, iClickers can be used in the classroom or online. 
  • PlayPosit – a video platform that allows you to create playlists and include interactive questions at crucial moments for learning. 
  • Panopto – video recording software that allows you to add quizzes for student interaction.  
  • SoftChalk – software to create lessons with images, videos and embedded student activities. 
  • Office365 – create surveys and quizzes for your students using Microsoft Forms. 
  • Qualtrics – advanced survey tool.  
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