Ever wondered how to make assessing your kindergarten students a breeze?

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Have no fear, summative assessments are here!

So, what's a summative assessment?

Summative assessments measure a child's understanding and mastery of a lesson or unit of study and evaluate curriculum effectiveness. They occur after students have finished learning.

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What are the benefits of using summative assessments?

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  • Provide a snapshot to evaluate students

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  • Identify strengths and gaps in the instruction and learning

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  • Share academic growth with families

1. Observation and Documentation

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After a lesson or unit of study, teachers closely observe their students and note their strengths and weaknesses in a particular skill or content area.

Flaticon Icon Following a lesson on birds, students were assigned a task: to draw and label the parts of the bird. The teacher observed students labeling the beak, wings, and tail, while others were drawing and labeling bird families. These observations and notes allowed the teacher to identify gaps in the learning.

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Here are the pros and cons of observation and documentation in the class.

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  • Completed on the spot

  • Planned or spontaneous

  • Suitable for all learners

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  • Implicit bias can occur

  • Risk of inaccurate documentation

  • Time-consuming

2. Portfolios

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Portfoliosare student work samples demonstrating a child's academic growth, areas of need, and learning styles.

An alternative to the traditional portfolio is a digital portfolio. Teachers can upload or scan work samples into Google Drive or OneNote.

What can I include in a portfolio?

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  • work samples from different points in the year to show growth

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  • photographs from projects

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  • informal assessments

Explore the advantages and disadvantages of using portfolios:

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  • Open-ended to include various subjects and projects

  • Showcases a student's strengths/ weaknesses

  • Monitor progress over time

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  • Collecting work can be time-consuming

  • Difficult to organize various work samples

  • Potentially biased based on the teacher's opinion

3. Questionnaires

Teacher and student looking a work. Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

Questionnairesare questions or checklists aligned with educational standards. Teachers assess their students' academic, social-emotional, and physical skills.

Here are some examples:

You might be wondering, what are the pros and cons?

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  • Align with standards

  • Structured format

  • Universal (fits all students)

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  • Time-consuming

  • Evaluators' views can differ

  • Stress inducing

Quiz: Summative Assessment Decision

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Emil is deciding which summative assessment to evaluate his students' understanding of upcoming math standards. It needs to be suitable for all learners and assess the required learning outcomes.

Take a look at Emil's thoughts below. Which accurately fulfills his students' assessment requirements?


Portfolios allow me to capture all my students' learning.


Questionnaires correspond with the standards I'm assessing and can be completed by the whole class.


Observations and documentation are great for capturing my students' learning at the moment, but it'll take time to get it done.


I'll conference with my students one-on-one.


Which summative assessment fulfills his requirements?

Summative Assessment Tips

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#1 Conducting Assessments

Here's how to set up & deliver, when to schedule, and inform students about the assessments.

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Observation and Notes

Use a pre-made document or regular paper to jot down observations while moving around the class. Decide on the number of observations beforehand.

Kindergartners are curious about the reasons behind certain actions. Inform them that you're observing and taking notes.

You can conduct observations year-round, taking just 3-5 minutes.

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Either the teachers or students pick out samples of their work that showcase their academic achievements.

Creating a rubric or checklist can simplify the process of selecting work samples for kindergartners who enjoy all their work.

Gather samples at the end of the marking period, a unit, or at the start, middle, and end of the year.

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Questionnaires are generally required by schools or school districts, with instructions provided on how to administer them.

Explain why this assessment is important. For example, you can say, "Completing this assessment will help me know how well you blend sounds to read words."

The frequency at which the exam should be conducted will be specified by the school or school district.

#2 Sharing with families

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Studies show parental involvement positively impacts academic performance. Feedback can be formal or informal:

  • Formal: Share student's summative assessments and overall performance during parent-teacher conferences. Talk about what the child is good at and areas where they might need some extra help.

  • Informal: Send assessments home with a note to talk about what they did well (glows) and where they can improve (grows).

Take Action

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Boost your kindergarten teaching with practical summative assessments.

Take inventory of how you currently administer summative assessments. Then implement one or all the summative assessments to:


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