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Types of Summative Assessment for Reading

by Lori Garrett-Hatfield, studioD

Summative assessment, or the assessment given after a large chunk of learning, is used by teachers to measure progress, usually at the end of the school year. In addition, the information gained from summative assessments are used by teachers and schools to determine how students within a class, a subject or a grade level progressed during the school year. There are many types of summative assessment used in K-12 reading classes.

Summative Assessments in Early Elementary Reading

In Kindergarten, most states have an ongoing summative assessment program in reading. Students are assessed once per quarter. Many of the skills assessed for reading are pre-reading skills, such as letters and letter sounds. Students are also able to look at beginning sounds to help decode a word, according to the Georgia Department of Education. In Georgia, kindergarten students are also assessed on whether or not they are able to hold a book correctly, use visual clues to help them read, and track text left to right. Other states also have summative kindergarten reading assessments much like GKIDS. Texas has an online kindergarten testing program that tests letters and letter sounds and vocabulary.

Elementary School Summative Assessments

In elementary school, assessments for reading are usually given in the spring. There are some assessments, such as the Developmental Reading Assessment, which may be given during the year. The Developmental Reading Assessment measures a student's reading level and may be given at the end of first semester, as well as the end of the second semester, according to the Minnesota Parent Center. Most states have yearly state elementary assessments specifically for reading. Depending on the grade level, reading assessments cover vocabulary, comprehension, context clues, inferences and comparing and contrasting.

Middle School Reading Assessments

As in elementary school, students in middle school take summative assessments in the spring during statewide assessments. Usually, students take a summative assessment in language arts, which measures student strengths in reading, language, and writing. There are also nationwide assessments that can be given, depending on the state and the school. The Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) tests middle school students in order to assess their progress at the end of a school year. The SRI tests vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Another test that is given to middle school students is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which tests eighth graders on vocabulary and reading comprehension using a variety of texts.

High School Reading Assessments

High school students are not usually tested in reading as a spring summative test. Many states, like Georgia, use end of course tests to measure a student's progress in reading in high school. For example, a student will take an end of course test in English I, which measures reading and writing skills. Some states, such as Louisiana, test student reading skills on their Graduation Exit Exam, which students generally begin taking sophomore or junior year. There are aptitude tests in high school as well. Many high school students take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery; two of those tests measure comprehension and vocabulary skills.

About the Author

Lori Garrett-Hatfield has a B.J. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. She has been working in the Education field since 1994, and has taught every grade level in the K-12 system, specializing in English education, and English as a Second Language education.

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