The advantage of summative testing is that it is a better and more objective way of assessment. Testing protects students from biased assessment because the procedure is standardized as much as possible (Parkes & Zimmaro, 2017). The uniformity of the grading process means that less time is needed to review the results, which is a definite plus for teachers (Martin et al., 2019). A student’s place of residence, gender, and other personal characteristics cannot affect his or her grade. Thus, it means that all students are on an equal footing with each other.
However, there are also a number of disadvantages of summative testing. First of all, the development of high-quality test instruments is a long, time-consuming, and expensive process (Parkes & Zimmaro, 2017). Summative testing does not reveal the reason for mistakes made by a student (Gronlund, 2008). That is, it is impossible to find out why a student did not answer a particular question. In addition, testing does not provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their creative skills (Woolfork, 2017). If this is the only form of testing the student’s knowledge, then one should expect difficulties with the development of abstract thinking skills.
Moreover, this type of testing requires a significant amount of resources because of the need to ensure confidentiality. When the test is used repeatedly, it is desirable to make changes to the items (Townsey, 2022). It should also be noted that there is an element of chance in testing. It is not uncommon that an easy question for a student can seem difficult and vice versa (Parkes & Zimmaro, 2017). The reason for this may be a random error in the first question and guessing the answer in the second. A situation arises where it becomes more challenging to trust test results, and the need to consider the probability factor worsens testing effectiveness.
Gronlund, N. E. (2008). Assessment of student achievement. Pearson.
Martin, C., Polly, D., & Lambert, R. (2019). Handbook of research on formative assessment in Pre-K through elementary classrooms. IGI Global.
Parkes, J., & Zimmaro, D. (2017). The college classroom assessment compendium. Routledge.
Townsey, M. (2022). Using grading to support student learning. Taylor & Francis.
Woolfork, A. E. (2017). Educational psychology. Pearson.