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Distance Education

Summative Assessments

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Distance Education

Wayne Hall
6th Floor
125 W. Rosedale Ave.
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2948
Fax: 610-436-2189

Distance Education Support
Phone: 610-436-3373

Summative Assessments



Assessments are integral to any course. Summative assessments evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard, objective, goal or benchmark. Summative assessments are often high stakes, meaning they are valued highly in the overall course outcome. There are many tools for the actual summative assessment, grading and feedback, and management of earned grades throughout the term. Online testing, proctoring, and gradebooks can make evaluations, feedback and grading more effective and more effective for both faculty and students. There are varieties of summative assessment tools available within our LMS that assist in the evaluating mastery of course material and providing effective feedback.  

Instructional Uses:

  • Communicate grades quickly and confidentially using an online gradebook 
  • Convenience of online quizzing and testing 
  • Have proctoring support for online testing 
  • Have automated checking for academic integrity and feedback to encourage proper writing skills 
  • Building question banks for tests and quizzes 

WCU Supported Tools:

Tips for using Summative Assessments:

  • Align your assessments with your course goals reflecting the important understandings and skills you want students to derive from your course. 
  • Make an investment in question banks that you can reuse over time. This is a time intensive task, but question libraries can be re-used, and shared. In addition, in many cases, online quizzing/testing tools will use question libraries to shuffle questions among students. 
  • For online assessments, clearly communicate to student what resources (if any) they can use while taking the assessment.  
    Use the built in time restrictions, calendar restrictions and question shuffling to assist with keeping students on task and within the guidelines of the assessment. 
  • For online high stakes testing, use virtual proctoring tools to ensure valid test taking 


Garfield, Joan. Beyond Testing and Grading: Using Assessment to Improve Student Learning. Journal of Statistics Education, 2(1), 1994.

Volkwein, J. Fredericks. Assessing student outcomes: why, who, what, how? New directions for institutional research. Assessment supplement. San Francisco: Jossey­Bass, 2010 (Available in Perkins Library). 

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