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Writing a Summative Essay in 6 Simple Steps

Published by Ellie Cross at March 21st, 2022 , Revised On June 21, 2023

Writing a summative essay is a common way used by academic tutors to assess students’ learning and analytical abilities. Summative essays are used to evaluate students’ knowledge and understanding of an extensive concept or course content. Like other essay types, it comprises an introduction , main body and a concluding section.

A summative assessment synthesizes students’ learning and understanding of a particular academic source and almost always takes place at the end of term or a complete academic year. Such assessments determine the overall understanding or proficiency of the assessed topic .

However, this leaves many students unsure of what to do or where to begin. But don’t worry! We assume that students do not need to panic as long as we guide them on how to write an excellent summary essay.

Here are six simple steps that can help you compose a first-class summative essay paper.

1۔ Know Your Exact Summative Essay Topic

Even though this seems to be the simplest part of the process, it is often disregarded. Most people look at specific topics and select one because it appears to be the easiest or they have found sufficient material to work on it.

Understanding your professor’s opinion is essential here. What exactly does he expect from you? It is a significant step to produce good content for your summative essay. If you are confused about the topic, discuss it with your professor, friends, or colleagues.

Or our experts can provide a unique topic for your summative essay for free.

2. Search for the Relevant Material

Now that you have a clear picture of the topic of your summative essay, the next thing to do is to start reading the lectures notes or the academic sources available on the topic. Skim over the important points. Refresh your mind with your study material or course syllabus.

If you have ever attended a training course, seminar, or workshop on the topic, you will have a good amount of knowledge to write down as it will help you get a handle on some of the more complicated issues on the topic.

3. Make an Outline

While reading the relevant materials, split the literature into small paragraphs. This way, you can quickly get an overview of the literature. When reading the material, remember the essay topic you are writing so you can extract and note down useful information.

Jot down notes on any argument that you think might support the title of your essay. Then re-read each paragraph , and highlight all crucial points. Mark the areas you want to refer to in your summative essay and the points you do not wish to include.

Read: How to write an essay outline

4. Writing an Introduction

The introduction of your summative essay should briefly explain the main idea of the original paper, and provide the name of the author, the title of the paper, and the basic background information. Try to keep everything precise. As a rule, 250-300 words are sufficient for the introduction. Also, add the thesis statement as you will have to conclude your essay with reference to the thesis statement.

5. Writing the Main Body

Divide the essay into 2-4 themes in the main body, which you can argue and support in detail—elaborate these themes with one or more examples from the original paper. Include only necessary information and avoid irrelevant things.

6. Conclusion

A concluding paragraph is only required if your professor asks for it. Otherwise, it is not necessary.

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Important Points to Consider

  • One of the most important points to remember when writing a summative essay is to keep it related to the source.
  • Remember that your interpretations of the source may mislead your readers, so the text should be clear enough to give the reader an idea about the original work.
  • Proofread your essay and revise it when it is finished. Do not rush to submit the first draft as it is. There is always room for new additions. You may discover a useful quote to include. Read the essay thoroughly. Check for spelling mistakes. Pay special attention to the sentence structure.
  • Delete every unnecessary information. Keep your content short and meaningful.
  • Ask your friend or colleague to read to see if they can comprehend the main idea of the original source after reading your summative essay.
  • Now that you have been introduced to the basic tips and rules for writing a summative essay, its time to give yourself a try to select any interesting topic and write your essay!!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a summative essay.

A summative essay is a type of assessment that evaluates a student’s understanding, knowledge, and skills at the end of a course or academic period. It typically requires students to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and critical thinking through a formal written essay, which is assessed for its overall quality and achievement of learning outcomes.

What are the 6 steps involve in writing a summative essay?

  • Know Your Exact Summative Essay Topic
  • Search for the Relevant Material
  • Make an Outline
  • Writing an Introduction
  • Writing the Main Body
  • Writing Conclusion

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Formative vs. Summative Assessments: What’s the Difference?

Formative Vs. Summative Assessments


Summative and formative assessments are two different ways of evaluating learning accomplished by students. The kind of assessment strategy that should be selected for the specific lesson or a specific teaching program depends on the large range of differences between formative and summative assessments. Therefore it is important to take a closer look at the range of difference is between the formative and the summative kind of assessments. On studying the differences in the definition of the two assessment types it is possible to state that the difference in definitions are imperative to understanding the difference in approaches in the two assessment (Sanchez et al., 2017). Firstly it deserves mention that formative assessment is used for monitoring of the learning is accomplished by students so that they can be provided with ongoing feedback. This feedback can be used by the instructors as well as the educators for improvement of their teaching quality and in fact by the students for improvement of their learning outcomes .nevertheless summative assessments on the other hand are used for evaluation of the learning accomplished by students at the end of any instructional unit through comparison of the same against some specific protocol or specific benchmark. The definitions make it evident that the two assessment strategies should not be evaluated in the same way. Therefore this research study makes and in-depth approach to understand and discuss the biggest differences between formative and summative differences.

Differences Between Formative And Summative Assessments

The initial big difference is observed when the assessment is the taking place during the learning process of the student. As it is already articulated by the definition the process of formative assessment is a continuous activity. This is an evaluation that is taking place during the process of learning itself. This is not only a onetime thing but it occurs several times. On the other hand summative evaluation is taking place at completely other times. It is not taking place during the process but after the completion of the process. This evaluation process takes place after the course is completed or a unit is completed (Bazelais, Doleck& Lemay, 2017).

Another major difference between these two assessment strategies is obtaining appropriate information regarding the learning of the student. On one and formative assessments help individuals to identify whether the student is a doing well in every aspect or the individual require help and the same is identified through a process of monitoring of the learning processes. On the other hand summative assessment is used for assignment of final grades as the learning accomplishment. This grade signify whether the student has been achieved in the desire to mark in the respective learning objective or not. The next and III difference regarding the two assessments types is atom the objectives of the assessments are very apart. For formative skills assessment test the objective is improvement of the learning of students. In order to do this it is important to improve the learning of the student (Dolin et al., 2018). Again in order to improve the learning of students it is important to provide significant feedback to them. In case of summative assignment the objective is itself evaluating the achievement of students. Hence if your mentation of any of the two kinds of assessments depend on whether the individual taking the decision want the students to be best at something for the individual want students transcending themselves every time over and over again.

The next big difference in this regard is that it during formative assessment evaluation is taking place for more than one location during the throughout learning process . However in case of summative assessments it is taking place during the chapter or the course. In this regard the difference is that the package of the evaluation process is different for both cases. Formative assessment incorporates little and specific content areas. For evidence 3 formative evaluations of a single chapter. On the contrary summative assessment incorporates complete chapters or the content area. For evidence one evaluation at the end of the chapter. The other difference in this regard is that formative assessment considered as evaluation to be a process (Mahshanian, Shoghi&Bahrami, 2019). This is an approach by means of which teachers can observe a student growing and help the students to be guided in the upward journey. In contrast summative assessment is harder from the teacher’s perspective as it is difficult for the teacher to guide the student regarding the mistakes committed during a specific course after the end outcome has been achieved. This is however the final outcome of all evidences and guidance which has been provided to the students’ sofar before undertaking the summative assessment.

Examples Of Both Kinds Of Assessments

Formative assessments.

Formative assessment can take the shape of classroom polling, exit ticket, Small repetitive feedbacks and so on. However they can be made more interesting. For evidence in response to question in specific or topic enquiry students writing on three different summaries which are 15 words long followed by 50 words long and find 300 words long. This is a typical example. Another example is 3-2-1 countdown exercise. In this regard student’s canon note down the information or they might respond verbal. They have to respond to three specific statement or requirements (Houston & Thompson, 2017). The third is the things that didn’t know before. Followed by this is the thing that surprised them regarding a specific topic which is being currently studied and in the first place is the thing that you want to start doing with what they have learnt with this topic. Example is that of the 1-minute paper which are usually done at the end of individual lessons (Dave et al., 2017). In this case student generally answer brief questions in writing format. The questions are typically focused around the primary objective of learning of this course and they might be the surprising concept or a very confusing area of the topic or what question might come out as a research gap from this topic to be studied in during the next test.

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment is more popular as a decisive and conclusive outcome of learners as well as educators. Education is a slow learning agenda and providing student grades which is comparatively easier to do from the perspective of teachers. In this case they do not need to take a follow through and a follow up and note that down at the end of every small test and take up to cancer from that to improve educational outcomes of every student. This is a decisive outcome where students as well as teachers get to know the end outcome of the teaching and learning a gender from both perspectives (Durdikuliyevna, Anvarovna&Zulayho, 2019). The examples of summative assessments are the midterm examination or end unit or chapter ending for final project and presentations. There are specific and discrete benchmarks used along with scoring criteria for accountability of the university as well as students and even in further educational domains.

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Finer Distinguishing

Any administrator or supervisor or teacher are frequent with use of either formative or summative assessments . any curriculum map is incomplete without acute presence of both of these. Nevertheless they have real significance from multiple perspectives as it has been evident. In a nutshell, formative assessment can be quiz as well as test which help in evolution of someone and the way they are using learning material for their individual learning accomplishments throughout educational courses. in contrast it can be highlighted that summative assessment can be quiz as well as test which help in evaluation of how much the individual has learnt following any criteria and process throughout the course and this test is taken at a point when the individual has accomplished whatever they had to do during the course to judge the final outcome and then move on to the next course (Schwinning et al., 2018). In the classroom setting it imply formative assessments taking place during specific course and summative assessment being final evaluation at the end of the course.

Formative assessments can be understood as evaluation of learning process of individuals in classrooms. The common formative assessment incorporate quiz or game or project or presentation or group activities. Formative assessments deliver great outcome when used on every day basis. The regularity can be based on the calendar basis or on the basis of the lesson plan that is used by the teacher for the respective educational unit or by the student itself. In this case they have more flexibility in comparison to summative assessment. It is not always imperative to use pencil and paper to understand the progress of students. In contrast it can be highlighted that in class game or group presentation and infect hands-on activities can also be used for evaluation of the progress achieved by the students. In the end it can also be noted that formative assessments can be used with flexibility and absolutely in the way the student or teacher wants to use the same for progress.

In this case the engagement should be better and the discretion is absolutely on the basis of the teacher as the individual educating a class or unit of students knows them best. Hence if it is preferable to get overview of how the students are learning in accumulation then group waste points in the formation of games can be organised. Nevertheless if individuals are trying to understand how each of the student is a struggling than individual assessment in the format of quiz can be organised. However it is more important to note in this regard that it is important to keep the flexibility to act in different formats of assessment so that the students are engaged and work which medication in the assessment (Bijsterbosch, van der Schee& Kuiper,2017). It enables the teacher as well to stick on with a syllabus while mixing up specific tasks each student need to perform in this regard.

This is how predictable routine will not be formed and the best teaching techniques will come handy. In contrast there is also a differentiated routine of teaching game quiz as well as teaching presentation or project or any other interesting format. By the end of the education resource the flexibility in this kind of assessment will provide the teacher with a complete understanding of how the learning objectives of the students has been accomplished. The credibility of the teaching and the learning outcomes will be clarified by this time. Thereby it will be possible to keep a check on the grades and walked on to find options for looking up at patterns among the multiple class sections. It helps to clearly identify if there is a specific area where the individual student is doing words in comparison to others (Buchholtz et al., 2018). Slight adjustments in the lessons can actually help in achievement of better outcomes among specific students who have been performing was in comparison to others in that specific respect.

It is not possible to achieve phenomenal out some for the entire class in the end term assessment overnight however it is more in natural to walk through adjustments by small and unit assessments so that the and outcome is statutory and maintains a standard. This is the credibility of formative assessment. It is already evident that it provides exceptional opportunities to the students to make their creative muscles flexible and law and the way they prefer to do so. In fact students can have fun while they are attending these kinds of assessments. The discussion regarding the kinds of formative assessments will help in demonstrating how students can make the related activities interesting (Yüksel&Gündüz, 2017). The first option in this regard is making an advertisement. The teachers can enable students to create advertisements for concepts they just learnt. They can use the visuals and text to really sell their own ideas. This will enable the students to apply what they have already learnt in to creative exercising and it will also help them to use their visceral as well as audio visual learning process for a sustainable learning experience and knowledge retention.

Nevertheless for the most interesting outcomes in the form of formative assessments are idea comparisons. The teachers in this regard can instruct the students to lay out primary ideas of the new concepts that the immediately learnt. Then they might be able to compare the concept with another to see where the concept agree or disagree with the previously learnt subjects. Misconceptions are another format of learning in this regard. After the concept has been introduced to the students it is important to introduce popular misconceptions regarding the same topic. It will be up to the students to discuss why the misconceptions would be false and also map the falsification to annihilate the wrong concept and strongly acquire the right concept.

According to essay typer the summative assessments on the other hand are evaluation of what has been learned throughout the educational regimen. The common kind of summative assessments in corporate stays followed by final exams as well as report and papers and projects at the end of the class. The summative assessments are always taking place to In The end of the courses unless the teacher is deciding to break the course into specific manageable chunks. On some occasions cumulative summative assessments is undertaken and used for the evaluation of the long-term information retention of students. In summative assessments like that are final exams it is possible to include questions from the first week for the second week or the entire course for ensuring that the students have retained the introductory information as well. Another form of assessment like papers the students can pull up from the entire marking period of learning for applications to a specific topic (Gutjahr, Menon &Nedungadi, 2017). In any way that students have to do some specific reflection process and critical thinking for accumulating information of the entire course together. This is a specific and spectacular way of ensuring that the students have retained critical information from one course to the other. this is important since the success achieved by the students in the classroom is a single step for them. When the teacher is preparing them for the next step it becomes easier for the students to succeed in future as well. hence in this regard it can be articulated that summative assessment fulfils two important objectives. Firstly it helps in evaluation of food what has been learnt by an individual in the classroom. Secondly it helps in evaluating how someone has prepared oneself to approach the next academic standard. Combined with the rest of the performers, summative assessment are excellent opportunity of gauging progress alongside ensuring long-term information retention.

Tracking Formative Assessments

It is not only enough to demonstrate a flexible approach to formative assessment to ensure engagement at collective as well as individual levels. It is also important to track the outcome of formative assessments and apply and implement a specific graduation system based on which the testification can be used for further learning. Firstly it is viable that the assessments can be tracked with the help of grades. Upgrades provide with a specific as well as concentrated perception of the student is learning. It is a specific evaluation of the learning quality of the students for stop on the downside the graded assessments might be a source of excessive educational stress for students. Therefore if the objective is to make the educational process interesting and funny for the students graded assignments might not be the best alternative (van Groen & Eggen, 2019). Then it is important to apply the second process which is tracking them by making them feel. Making the students feel is something that is based on the instant of the teacher which helps and enables students to be picked up as in need for additional support.in contrast, this is something which is rarely hypothecated by administrators as every educational institution has some parameters to be made at the end of learning sessions and without grades, it will not be possible to prove that the specific parameters of learning has been achieved from the end of the teachers. Final it can be highlighted that it is possible to track the outcome of formative assessments with the help of student data. According to online assignment help experts this is a kind of non-branded information which reflects how students in learning. Sometimes questions asked frequently by them for the approach undertaken by them for answering questions asked to them can be studied.

Approaches Of Summative Assessment

In depth report.

It includes instructions students to select topics which resonates with them in the class and prepare in-depth report regarding it. It is a great opportunity for the students to work on ideas and run their own supervision along with it. This can i report showcases the interest of the student and it becomes easier to evaluate the engagement level of the students during the class by how they approach the report. This is a passion-based objective intelligence as well as the comprehensiveness of the examination is also retained.

Cumulative, Individual Projects

As a part of this kind of individual projects, the student can pick up projects by themselves to complete. This project should reflect what the students have learnt throughout their educational course. In a view of essay writer Australia , this kind of projects are great for practical application is in the class of a specific subjects like health science of physics. Creation of cross section of the human heart for designing a diet or creating a egg drop whistle are funny way students can show the knowledge of their learning (Valero & Cárdenas, 2017).

Papers Of Personal Evaluation

These papers needs students apply the principles from their individual classes to personal lives. These papers are excellent for psychology or nutrition of finance for business studies or other theory-based lessons. The personal evaluations allow students to take a look at themselves through a different perspective at the same time exploring nuances of principles they have acquired in the class. In addition to that it allows the students to do something that is loved by them which is talking about themselves.

Tracking Summative Assessments

Individual students have their respective ideas over a specific topic which is why grades are best way of evaluating the success as used by individuals in context with summative assessment. The quality of grades ultimately depend on variable parameters with which a student approaches towards learning. Presentations are now a days considered best way of getting someone on the basis of number of factors which incorporate soft skills like that of public speaking. Written exams are the project-based assessments are ideal for perceiving the full scope of the student in understanding during the class (Khan &Jawaid, 2020). Whatever the packet is important to be consistent in the grading scale so that it is it possible to identify the strength and weaknesses of the students in the classroom after the accomplishment of the educational course.

In conclusion it can be articulated that the debate regarding whether formative or summative is the best opportunity of assessment is ongoing. In a perfect educational domain both are equally important. It can be summarised that formative assessments enables students to exhibit what their learning and how their learning and summative assessments are the outcome which enables them to understand what they have learnt in the end. In addition with standardized tests education in this country provide great scope of formative value-added assessments as well. It is not rare to find emphasis on any of the other two by the basement. In accompaniment with summative assessment many formative assessments perform the task of milestones whereas summative assessment simply show the bottom line. Teachers encouraged to look at both the assessments as both sides of the same coin. In order to achieve a flawless educational experience both kinds of assistant should be equally implemented.

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Reference List

Bazelais, P., Doleck, T., & Lemay, D. J. (2017). Exploring the Association Between Formative and Summative Assessments in a Pre-University Science Program.  Journal of Formative Design in Learning ,  1 (2), 65-72.

Bijsterbosch, E., van der Schee, J., & Kuiper, W. (2017). Meaningful learning and summative assessment in geography education: An analysis in secondary education in the Netherlands. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 26(1), 17-35.

Buchholtz, N. F., Krosanke, N., Orschulik, A. B., &Vorhölter, K. (2018). Combining and integrating formative and summative assessment in mathematics teacher education.  ZDM ,  50 (4), 715-728.

Dave, S., Chakravorty, I., Menon, G., Sidhu, K., Bamrah, J. S., & Mehta, R. (2020). Differential Attainment in Summative Assessments within Postgraduate Medical Education & Training.  Sushruta Journal of Health Policy & Opinion ,  13 (3).

Dolin, J., Black, P., Harlen, W., &Tiberghien, A. (2018). Exploring relations between formative and summative assessment. In  Transforming assessment  (pp. 53-80). Springer, Cham.

Durdikuliyevna, A. A., Anvarovna, C. D., &Zulayho, A. (2019). FORMATIVE AND SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT IN TEACHING PROCESS.  European Journal of Research and Reflection in Educational Sciences Vol ,  7 (12).

Gutjahr, G., Menon, K., &Nedungadi, P. (2017, November). Using an Intelligent tutoring system to predict mathematics and English Assessments. In  2017 5th IEEE International Conference on MOOCs, Innovation and Technology in Education (MITE)  (pp. 135-140). IEEE.

Houston, D., & Thompson, J. N. (2017). Blending Formative and Summative Assessment in a Capstone Subject:‘It’s not your tools, it’s how you use them’.  Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice ,  14 (3), 2.

Khan, R. A., &Jawaid, M. (2020). Technology enhanced assessment (TEA) in COVID 19 pandemic.  Pakistan journal of medical sciences ,  36 (COVID19-S4), S108.

Mahshanian, A., Shoghi, R., &Bahrami, M. (2019). Investigating the differential effects of formative and summative assessment on EFL learners’ end-of-term achievement.  Journal of Language Teaching and Research ,  10 (5), 1055-1066.

Sanchez, C. E., Atkinson, K. M., Koenka, A. C., Moshontz, H., & Cooper, H. (2017). Self-grading and peer-grading for formative and summative assessments in 3rd through 12th grade classrooms: A meta-analysis.  Journal of Educational Psychology ,  109 (8), 1049.

Schwinning, N., Striewe, M., Massing, T., Hanck, C., &Goedicke, M. (2018). Towards digitalisation of summative and formative assessments in academic teaching of statistics.  arXiv preprint arXiv:1811.02391 .

Valero, G., & Cárdenas, P. (2017). Formative and summative assessment in veterinary pathology and other courses at a Mexican veterinary college.  Journal of veterinary medical education ,  44 (2), 331-337.

van Groen, M. M., & Eggen, T. J. (2019). Educational test approaches: the suitability of computer-based test types for assessment and evaluation in formative and summative contexts.  Journal of Applied Testing Technology ,  21 (1), 12-24.

Yüksel, H. S., &Gündüz, N. (2017). Formative and summative assessment in higher education: opinions and practices of instructors.  European Journal of Education Studies .

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How to Write a Summative Essay – Guide with Example

Published by Jamie Walker at March 18th, 2022 , Revised On February 6, 2023

Summative essays are formal assessments or tests developed to compare and evaluate students and assess their aptitude as compared to other students. Summative essays are used to test the results of learning and knowledge over time and are usually criterion-referenced.

A summative essay is a comprehensive piece of writing and will need quite a lot of class time to revise, complete, instruct, edit and draft. This is not a type of assignment that can be revised or improved by students after grading.

The complexity and length of the summative essay will vary depending upon the academic level of the students. Students must comprehend the style and purpose of the assignment to write an effective summative essay.

The summative essay is usually longer than 5 pages. One page comprises of introduction and the rest of the pages have arguments that support the topic. Like other essay types , it ends with a conclusion and a list of references.

Also read: How to write an academic essay

Types of Summative Writing

Different types of summative writing have unique requirements which must be carefully checked for comprehension before starting the summative assessment. Adequate time must be allocated for clearly comprehending the requirements of the summative writing, drafting, reading, editing, and revising before submitting it for checking or grading.

Here are the six key main types of summative essays


This type of writing is a common choice in most social science curriculums. It is mainly the collection of the main points, key ideas, and domain-specific theocratic ideas taught inside of the unit plan.

Even though the opinions and persuasive arguments are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different from each other. An opinion simply requires you to state your thinking and back it up with facts and logic. Students in this type of writing are expected to show steady improvement throughout their degree programme, so their teachers could evaluate them for grading. Opinion writing is introduced to students in the 5th grade.


Argumentative type of writing needs the establishment and development of a claim made by the student in the introduction which is supported by the details containing resources and information in the main essay body . On the other hand, the opposing claim is used to present the exact opposite and contrasting point of view with supporting evidence.

Also read: How to write an argumentative essay

Compare & Contrast

This type of comparison writing attributes itself to the themes and backgrounds that have various aspects to them including individual personalities and specific geographic locations. The compare and contrast summative essays must be comprised of a set of attributes and qualities that the student can compare and contrast using text and research evidence. They do not ask the writer to prioritize one choice on the other, however, they do requires the writer to demonstrate comprehension of both and make a comparison.

The evaluative type of summative writing asks the writer to take a particular element, idea, or individual discussed during the unit and evaluate it using particular criteria. Students should take a stance on the theme and support it with text evidence and unit materials.

Theorising is a form of writing that gives answers to questions such as “What if?”. A theory is put forth on a particular theme that reflects reality or contrast to reality. The writer is expected to take an event, era or an individual.

Elements of a Good Summative Essay

If you want to write an effective summative essay, the following are the elements that you should consider:

Reliability: The writing delivers alike results throughout settings of classrooms, daily conditions and student groups.

Validity: The writing appropriately reflects what has been taught to students in the period of instruction.

Authenticity: The writing reflects a variety of skills related to the real world that are appropriate outside of the context of the classroom.

Variety: The essay reflects the usage of different words and views. Make sure to use different words and views to bring variety into the essay.

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Tips to Write an Effective Summative Essay

Here are some of the tips while writing a summative essay:

  • Look for authentic academic material that is relevant to your essay topic
  • Develop an outline before writing an essay.
  • Make sure the essay is organised in the form of good paragraphs.
  • Before starting the essay, make sure that you have some knowledge about the topic. Do some reading regarding the topic, before initiating the writing.
  • Lastly, proofread the essay to avoid grammatical errors

Writing a good introduction: For a good start begin your essay with an introduction . It should briefly provide the general ideas presented in the original text. The introduction should involve the author’s name, some contextual information about the author and work title. While in the paragraphs of the main body write the ideas that you have chosen while reading.

Use the rubric: Rubrics aid in setting a certain standard for the performance of a class on an assignment or test. They outline the key requirements and criteria you will be evaluated against.

Relevant to real-world: When writing a summative essay make sure that you are making it relevant to the real world.

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Summative Assessment Planning and Procedure Report

Summative assessment.

The summative assessment assignment is used by instructors when it is necessary to grade the students’ work at the end of the course in order to conclude about the outcomes of the learning and completion of the previously set objectives. The proposed summative assessment assignment should be presented in the form of the online lesson that includes such activities and assessment approaches as the online examination with the help of the Blackboard resources (Gayton & McEwan, 2007, p. 118). From this point the summative assessment in the form of a lesson is expected to include the following elements:

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  • Topic: Types of Assessments in Elementary Education
  • Objectives: Students will use their knowledge on different types of assessments in elementary education while answering the examination questions and resolving the proposed tasks.
  • Materials: Blackboard tools for examination; rubrics.
  • Introductory Part: The instructor provides online guidelines for completing the examination and rubrics according to which the examination will be assessed.
  • Main Assessment Activity: Students complete the online examination including tests, short answer questions, and essay questions with the help of Blackboard. The examination can be taken only once (90 minutes).
  • Assessment: Having checked the examination, the instructor sends the filled in rubrics and the attached feedback on the students’ progress and final grade to the students.

The proposed description of the short lesson plan is typical and basic to use in the online environments in order to assess the students’ progress and achievements with the help of the summative assessment. The assignment is summative in nature because it is the online complex examination including tests, short answer questions, and essay questions that aims to assess the students’ learning related to the whole course, and the final grade for the course is determined basing on the grade received for this assignment (Hanna & Dettmer, 2004). Furthermore, the proposed lesson is expected to be beneficial to students because the online assessment with the help of Blackboard tools allows students to demonstrate their knowledge in terms of answering different types of questions, without having an opportunity to use outside sources because of the limited time.

The assignment can measure the students’ progress in applying the knowledge on assessment types to resolving the proposed tasks and answering different test questions as well as essay and short answer questions. As a result, the students can demonstrate how they select types of assessments for using them in different situations. The proposed rubrics include the information on the number of points assigned for each task and on the expected quality of the proposed answers (ranging from “Excellent” – 100 points to “Fail” – 20 points). The rubrics with the attached instructor’s feedback on the students’ progress and rationale for stated points are also an effective assessment tool to provide the students with the information on their strengths and weaknesses in completing the unit of the course.

Focusing on the overall effectiveness of the proposed assessment, it is possible to state that the benefits to students are in opportunities to apply their knowledge while addressing different questions and resolving various tasks during one assessment session. As a result, the instructor and the faculty can conclude about the overall progress of the student in achieving the set goals (Boud & Falchikov, 2007, p. 400). Challenges associated with creating the lesson include the development of clear instructions for navigating the assessment by students. To predict further challenges in completing the examination, the instructor should develop and provide instructions for the students in advance to check their understanding of the assessment. In this context, such online technologies as additional video instructions and displayed guidelines can be used in order to overcome these challenges.

Assessment Planning

In their work, Palloff and Pratt (2009) propose several principles and concepts to determine and develop the effective online assessment. According to the authors, the effective online assessments are learner-centered, and they include the element of the self-reflection in comparison with the traditional assessments. Furthermore, the instructor is expected to propose the grading rubrics for all types of assignments and projects. Online assessments can also be collaborative in the nature to promote the students’ interactions through posting ideas and commenting on them (Palloff & Pratt, 2009, p. 102). In addition, assessments should be effective to help students in providing feedback. Such basic principles as alignment of assessments with learning objectives and clarity of assessments are also important along with the focus on the students’ input in developing the assessments (Palloff & Pratt, 2009, p. 102). These concepts are important to be implemented and followed while designing the online assessments because of the effectiveness of the proposed principles for motivating students and stimulating their achievements.

Thus, the focus on self-reflection is necessary to make the online learning meaningful for the student. Grading rubrics are important to set clear goals for students when they plan completing certain tasks. Collaboration is an important element of the traditional learning, and this factor needs to be addressed with the help of online assessments. Students should also be stimulated to provide feedback regarding the work of each other (Palloff & Pratt, 2009, p. 102). As a result, the proposed concepts are critical to make the assessment effective and stimulating the students’ further learning.

Table 1 demonstrates the assessment plan for the 100-level undergraduate course in English Writing.

Table 1. Assessment Plan for the English Writing Course (1 semester).

Such assessment types as wikis are selected because of their importance to promote collaboration in the online class. The course in English writing also requires the online submission of written assignments that can be checked by the instructor with the help of the rubrics that should be provided to the students in advance (Oosterhof, Conrad, & Ely, 2008). The online knowledge survey is important to be used during the first weeks of the course in order to determine the level of the students’ confidence regarding their preparation to start the course. The similar survey should also be provided during the latest weeks of the semester (Palloff & Pratt, 2009). Self-Assessment is important for students to monitor their everyday progress. These data are also important to for the faculty to propose possible corrections for the plan depending on the students’ posts. Peer Assessment should also be used during the online courses in order to guarantee that students promote their communication to learn from each other. Online opinion polls are important to be also integrated in the assessment strategy in order to guarantee that students have the opportunity to share their ideas on the character of assignments and comment on the other students’ positions.

Formative Assessment and Section VIII: Technology

Modern online technologies used for the assessment assignments are effective enough to align objectives and assessments in order to control the students’ learning. Different types of technologies are usually used for creating a formative assessment. These technologies include blogs, wikis, rubrics, and collaborative learning techniques (Herrington, Oliver, & Reeves, 2003, p. 60). The selection of the appropriate technology for the development of the assessment assignment significantly depends on the objective and purpose of the online lesson. From this point, such technologies as wikis are more appropriate to be used for assessing the students’ personal progress, when such online technologies as rubrics are actively used by instructors in order to assess assignments (Hanna & Dettmer, 2004; Palloff & Pratt, 2009). In order to control the progress of students within the online environments, formative assessments are of the great importance because they help students to control their progress in learning systematically.

Before starting the development of the assessment using the online technology, it is necessary to formulate the learning objective and focus on the performance that needs to be assessed with the help of the proposed assignment. In order to develop the formative assessment for the undergraduate course in English Writing, it is necessary to state the learning objective, determine the outcome, and select the assessment strategy among the available variants. Thus, if the expected outcome is the increase in the students’ awareness of their writing successes, it is reasonable to use blogging as the assessment of the students’ personal progress. The use of the blog allows focusing on the self-reflection regarding the success in completing specific assignments during the course (Gayton, & McEwan, 2007, p. 118). In the blog posts, a student is expected to discuss his or her progress in achieving the leaning outcomes.

While working at the blog, students receive the opportunity to integrate more materials in their work and to demonstrate their creativity. This form of the assessment is rather motivating for students because they often discuss the process of developing the blog as the creative experience, rather than the assessment (Palloff & Pratt, 2009). As a result, the level of stress for students decreases, when their motivation and focus on completing the high-quality work can increase.

Online blogs as a type of the formative assessment are important to help students reflect on their knowledge and skills and improve the English writing skills while writing informal blogs. One of the main advantages of using blogs for self-reflection is the possibility to upload new posts and thoughts at any time while using available devices with the Internet connection. These posts can be immediately viewed by peers, and they can comment on the read material (Herrington et al., 2003, p. 61). As a result, blogs are also important to promote the peer reflection in the online class.

The appropriate formative assessment to be used in the online English class should include the following components:

The Learning Objective

Students will demonstrate the effective use of blogging for reflecting on their progress in completing regular assignments in English writing.

Blogs (online learning journals).

The Used Technology


Description of the Assessment

WordPress.com is a web platform that can be used for creating blogs and websites by students and instructors for free. The instructor asks students from the online English writing class to register on the website and create their own blogs (Oosterhof et al., 2008). The instructor provides the link to the blog on WordPress.com including the step-by-step instructions and guidelines for the students on how to create their own blogs or online leaning journals (Palloff & Pratt, 2009). The blog created by the instructor also includes the rubrics for the students to evaluate their learning progress and self-reflection activities.

Students are required to follow the instructor’s guidelines and create their first blog posts on the topic indicated by the instructor in the guidelines. When the first blog posts are created, students post the links to them in the comments to the instructor’s introductory blog post. Once the links are provided, students from the class can comment on the posts of their peers. According to the rubrics and guidelines, students are required to create a post once a week, after receiving the grade on the previous week assignment. In these 500-word blogs, students are expected to reflect on their progress, received knowledge, and skills application. Students are expected to write on all thoughts that are associated with their work at the course assignments. Much attention should be paid to the personal reflection on strengths and weaknesses in completing the week assignment. Students can also add to their posts while responding to the other students’ postings.

Students’ blogs are evaluated according to the limited number of criteria because their purpose is to contribute to the students’ self-reflection activities. Thus, the instructor will assess the students’ blogging according to the following criteria:

  • 10 points – The blog post demonstrates the student’s awareness of his or her strengths and weaknesses in completing the task as well as the complete analysis of the received grade and demonstrated success. The student responds to the comments provided by the other students to the post.
  • 8 points – The blog post demonstrates the student’s awareness of his or her strengths and weaknesses in completing the task, but it lacks the analysis of the received grade and progress in learning the topic. The student responds only to few comments provided by the other students to the post.
  • 0 points – The blog post is not written.

Learn Through Writing

Boud, D., & Falchikov, N. (2007) Aligning assessment with long-term learning. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 31 (4), 399-413.

Gayton, J., & McEwan, B. (2007). Effective online instructional and assessment strategies. The American Journal of Distance Education, 21 (3), 117–132.

Hanna, G. S., & Dettmer, P. A. (2004). Assessment for effective teaching: Using context-adaptive planning. Boston, MA: Pearson A&B.

Herrington, J., Oliver, R., & Reeves, T. (2003). Patterns of engagement in authentic online learning environments. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 19 (1), 59-71.

Oosterhof, A., Conrad, R., & Ely., D. (2008). Assessing learners online . New York, NY: Pearson.

Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2009). Assessing the online learner: resources and strategies for faculty . New York, NY: Jossey-Bass.

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Hurix Digital

Importance of Summative Assessment and the Types of Assessment in Higher Education

All teachers, administrators, exam supervisors, and lecturers are familiar with the term summative assessment. From weekly quizzes to annual examinations, summative assessments are the most effective ways to examine a student’s progress.

Table of Contents:

What is summative assessment in education, importance of summative assessment, essential features of summative assessment.

  • Examples and Types of Summative Assessment in Higher Education
  • Wrapping up

Summative assessments not only establish the developmental patterns of students but also provide actionable insights to educators. However, they require a significant investment of time from students and educationists.

Having proper knowledge about the types of assessment in higher education can go a long way in conducting the assessments in an improved and efficient manner. Let’s discuss summative assessments in detail to understand how you can analyze your student’s abilities and maximize their inner potential.

A summative assessment is usually conducted at the end of a study course or training program to evaluate the learner’s acquired proficiency and knowledge against a pre-determined benchmark or standard. Comprising grading rubrics and clear instructions to assess how much the student has learned and retained, the stakes for this method have a high point value.

Under this type of assessment, it is challenging for the instructor to provide personalized feedback on students’ performance. However, the results are significant enough to analyze students’ strengths and weaknesses. Nowadays, teachers can access several online summative evaluation tools to get better results and make better strategic learning decisions.

Read Also: Why Higher Education Institutions Need an Education Services Company

Standard-driven instructions play a crucial role in today’s education system. Summative assessments provide an important benchmark to track the progress of institutions and students, thereby aiding the evaluation of the country’s educational program as a whole.

Such types of assessment in higher education contribute significantly towards upgrading the overall curriculum planning . Whenever the evaluation data indicates a gap between student understanding and learning targets, institutions may resort to new learning criteria and enhanced curriculum planning to analyze and maximize their educational attainment levels and efficacy.

Essential Features of Summative Assessment

1. Practicality and Ethical

The summative evaluation processes are practical, flexible, and calculable. They are well-aligned, which makes it simple for the instructor to incorporate them into a training program. Summative assessment promotes clear learning and teaching boundaries. The instructor is required to receive students’ consent before implementing this method.

2. Reliability

Being a standardized method of knowledge-based assessments, summative evaluation provides reliable and exact results. With the help of a well-defined process, it is easier to reveal a student’s capability in a field. It also provides consistent and accurate outcomes when used in relevant contexts.   

Students are encouraged to exhibit their knowledge and skills in several ways under the summative evaluation method. You need to keep in mind that this method is used for an identified purpose, and it is limited to the material shared during the training or course.  

4. Validity

Always remember that summative assessment examines the students’ skills in a particular subject matter in line with the objectives and learning goals of the training or course. For instance, an engineering course includes practical tests and experiments to evaluate students’ knowledge of core topics.

5. Quick Reports

As the main idea behind summative assessment is to check students’ progress, there is always a summarized report of results after the examination ends. This helps the instructors to compare students’ past and present performances.

Examples and 5 Types of Summative Assessment in Higher Education

1. standardized admission tests.

Higher education institutions conduct these tests for students to qualify them for a specific program or course. Based on pre-determined cut-off marks and the student’s performance on the test, they are granted admission to the desired program.

For example, TOEFL and IELTS are standardized English proficiency tests that determine a student’s language skill levels. Usually, these types of assessments in higher education are conducted on a large scale, and they utilize explicit scoring criteria for allotting grades.

2. End-of-Term Exams

End-Of-Term examinations are one of the most common methods of assessment and evaluation in higher education. These exams have a simple structure – the instructor formulates relevant questions, and the students submit their answers within a specific interval.

They not only help teachers assess students’ subject matter knowledge but also provide quantitative results, allowing teachers to grade students and determine their success rate. What’s more, teachers can avoid the heavy workload attached to paper assessments by leveraging online test platforms to conduct the assessments.

3. Oral Tests

If you want to get spontaneous and real-time responses from students after a specific course or program, then the oral summative test is an ideal option. You can use unstructured, semi-structured, or structured interview approaches to assess students’ progress.

Many teachers conduct oral tests on various topics in classrooms to analyze students’ understanding of the subject matter. The type of questions asked during oral tests depends on the kind of interview method you embrace.

4. Formal Essays

What can be better than formal essays to determine students’ perspectives and thought processes? Promoting essay writing skills helps students explain their ideas and understanding of any topic.

It is a great way to evaluate their level of knowledge regarding a particular concept. Formal essays allow them to argue for or against a topic, narrate their learning experiences or explain their understanding of a subject matter in descriptive prose.

5. Group Projects and Practical Assignments

Another excellent way to evaluate students’ knowledge is to assign them tasks within small groups. For example, a group task can help you evaluate how students develop a framework and solve a particular problem after training them on conflict resolution and teamwork.

Assigning practical projects to students for specific subjects, with precise and clear guidelines, gives teachers a direct chance to assess students’ abilities and skills in real-time. This is one of the key advantages of summative assessment, as instructors can determine learners’ strengths and give them constructive feedback. 

Read Also: The Relationship Between Curriculum Development And Evaluation

Wrapping Up!

To sum it up, a comprehensive summative assessment offers valuable insights into where learners stand compared to their peers. Online assessment tools can open doors to a whole new world of adept performance and agile learning. They are a great way of transforming the learning and evaluation environment.

If you’re looking for higher education, eLearning, or training solutions, get in touch with HurixDigital today! Our team of experienced professionals can assess your digital content solution needs and guide you through the best path to success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How does summative assessment benefit educators and students?

A. Summative assessment offers insights into learners’ progress, helps educators identify gaps in understanding, and provides quantitative results.

2. What are the benefits of using online summative evaluation tools?

A. Online tools provide educators with better results and strategic learning decisions, making it convenient to assess and analyze students’ progress.

3. Can instructors provide personalized feedback in summative assessments?

A. While personalized feedback is challenging due to the nature of summative assessments, the results still offer insights into students’ strengths and weaknesses.

4. What distinguishes summative assessment from other types of assessment?

A. Summative assessment is typically conducted at the end of a learning period to evaluate overall proficiency, whereas formative assessment is ongoing and focuses on guiding learning during the process.

5. How do oral tests contribute to summative assessment?

A. Oral tests offer real-time responses, allowing teachers to assess students’ progress and understanding after a course.

summative assessment essay

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March 4th, 2023

Preparing for summative essays.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

The word “summative assessment” can worry and scare students as they count towards their degree. Some social science students are assessed through various essays and written tasks but not numerical tests. Here is my process on how to plan and write a summative essay. 

Exploring the essay titles would be the first step I take. More often than not, students are given a variety of essay titles to choose from, likely to be representative of distinct topics. Very early on, you might find one title more fascinating or less challenging and lean towards that one. Nonetheless, it can be useful to carefully consider all the questions equally and make a rough brainstorm of what arguments you intend to use and relevant case studies and examples. It would also be useful to look at your lectures and see what your professor has discussed on the topic. This will point you towards the best title to tackle.

The next step would be breaking down the essay title . What are you being prompted to do and answer? What is the key term in the question (e.g. “discuss”, “evaluate”, “critically assess”)? By doing so, you will know precisely what the task is asking you to do, and how to stay on track and maximise your score by answering all parts of the question. 

Once you know the “asks” of the title, it is time to research your essay title (assuming that it is a take-home assignment). Hopefully, when you break down the essay title, you will have an idea of what your main arguments are going to be. By doing so, you can narrow down your research list. It is extremely important that you consistently refer back to the essay title to make sure that what you are writing will strengthen your argument and helps to answer the essay prompt.

Organising your arguments would be the next step. The structure is often, if not always, a criterion for examiners marking your essay. This means that your essay has to be logical and flow smoothly rather than being disconnected. Though this is difficult to get used to initially, you will eventually find your writing “voice” as you continue.

Proper citations are another key aspect of preparing your summative essay. Some teachers may suggest one citation method over another such as Harvard, MLA, APA and so on. Therefore, you should follow the preferred citation method if possible. Again, citations are a skill that students need to develop over time as it may be the first time students encounter citations as part of essay requirements.

The final stage would be proofreading your essay. This step is absolutely essential to evaluate your essay as a complete whole. Consider whether the narrative is smooth and whether all of your arguments answer the essay title. It is also an opportunity to finalise some small details like grammar, spelling mistakes and formatting problems. 

This is simply a rough overview of the stages I use to prepare for summative essays and surely, you may have some additional steps along the way that you find useful. Nonetheless, if you apply the earlier steps suggested, you will have a basic understanding of how to prepare for a summative essay. Good luck!

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