The Gibson County Special School Districts’ Department of Assessment provides information about the extent to which students are meeting district and state standards and guides educational improvement efforts in partnership with teachers, administrators and support staff. We encourage parents and students to be informed about testing procedures and expectations. Our schools and district office have multiple resources to aid families through the testing process.

District Common Assessments - Formative Assessments

Over the course of a year, teachers can build in many opportunities to assess how students are learning and then use this information to make beneficial changes in instruction. This diagnostic use of assessment is called formative assessment. It stands in contrast to summative assessment, which generally takes place after a period of instruction and provides information about the learning that has occurred (e.g., by grading or scoring a test or paper).

Formative assessment may be broadly defined as including all activities that teachers and students undertake to get information that can be used diagnostically to alter teaching and learning. Under this definition, assessment encompasses teacher observation, classroom discussion, and analysis of student work, including homework and tests. Assessments become formative when the information is used to adapt teaching and learning to meet student needs. When teachers know how students are progressing and where they are having trouble, they can use this information to make necessary instructional adjustments, such as re-teaching, trying alternative instructional approaches, or offering more opportunities for practice. These activities can lead to improved student success.

District Common Assessments - Summative Assessments
Summative assessments are cumulative evaluations used to measure student growth after instruction and are generally given at the end of a course (or end of a unit of study) in order to determine whether long-term learning goals have been met. Summative assessments are not like formative assessments, which are designed to provide immediate, explicit feedback useful for helping the teacher and student during the learning process. High-quality summative information can shape how teachers organize their curricula or what courses schools offer their students. Although there are many types of summative assessments, the most common examples include:

  • State-mandated assessments
  • End-of-course exams
  • End-of-unit or-chapter tests