Summative evaluations are important because they provide data that can be used to improve instruction and student learning. When used correctly, summative evaluations can help identify areas of strength and weaknesses, set goals, and measure progress. For example, if a teacher wants to find out how well students understand fractions, she might ask them to solve problems involving fractions on a pretest or posttest. The results of these tests would then be compared with the initial test (a pre-test) to see if there was a performance improvement. These tests could also be administered regularly so that teachers know what skills need more attention in future lessons. Summative evaluations can also be administered more than once during a course or a semester. This type of comprehensive summative assessment allows teachers to see how students are doing over time. If a teacher notices that one particular group of students is struggling, she can pinpoint when they started having problems. That way, she can focus on interventions early on so students don’t fall too far behind.
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