The Student News Site of Seoul International School


Upcoming Events



Short summatives: feedback or fear?


Whether mathematics homework quizzes or Chinese linguistic foundation quizzes, there has been an increase of short summatives. But like all changes, this one too has its supporters and critics, with students being at the forefront of this contentious debate. 

Short summatives are taking unnecessary backlash from the student body. A recent poll held on Instagram found that 61 percent of the students do not like the short summatives, with many students finding them as a nuisance and unnecessarily stressful. Despite the disapproval, short summatives bring a variety of benefits and are an integral part of a student’s learning path.

For a sizable portion of the student body, these quizzes trigger stress. The sheer frequency of these summatives means that students feel perpetually under pressure. Every other day, there is a new concept to be tested on, a new set of questions to answer, and another grade that potentially affects their overall academic performance. This constant barrage can be mentally taxing, leading to burnout and even distaste for the subject in question. If seen as merely a potential grade in PowerSchool, these quizzes might instill more fear than fascination for learning.

However, when approached with the right mindset, these short summatives can be beneficial. They present multiple opportunities for grade improvement. Each quiz can act as a small stepping stone, allowing students to bolster their grades. A slip-up in one does not doom one’s overall grade. 

These quizzes are like regular health check-ups. They diagnose areas of weakness early on, preventing misconceptions from becoming deeply ingrained. This early feedback can guide subsequent studies and revisions.

With quizzes sprinkled throughout the academic timeline, the habit of last-minute cramming—a common SIS practice—can be avoided. These quizzes compel students to maintain a consistent study routine, which often leads to better retention and comprehension. For example, in mathematics classes, the quizzes encourage students to do formative work, such as WebWork.

Students’ experiences with these summatives are contingent on students’ perspectives. If they see them as daunting challenges meant to confuse them, the experience will likely be stressful. However, by shifting their mindset to view these quizzes as routine milestones guiding their educational path, students can mitigate this stress, allowing for a more profound grasp of the material.

Teachers, too, have a role to play. Framing these quizzes as learning tools rather than just grade determinants can shift the narrative. It is also crucial to ensure that the frequency and difficulty of these quizzes are balanced so that they serve their intended purpose without overwhelming students.

“From the perspective of the math department, when we chose to do this homework quiz format, we did not do it because we wanted to make more summatives in our classes,” Nathan Warkentin, high school math teacher, said. “We wanted to give students the right incentives to do their HW and for them to come away with the right learning… There is evidence to suggest that short summatives boost student performance. Because the content you need to know is finite, you know exactly the parameters that you are operating in. Homework quizzes make sure you meet these standards and there is a corresponding gain in learning due to that.”

Like most educational tools, the rise of short summative assessments has both its merits and drawbacks. However, with the right approach and mindset, students might find themselves not just tolerating these quizzes but being genuinely thankful for them.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Eric Hyunseung Cho
Eric Hyunseung Cho, Copy Editor
Eric is a junior reporter for Tiger Times. He has a voracious appetite for more than just food. His love for thinking about mathematics and space is matched only by his passion for playing the French horn and swimming. Don't hesitate to engage him in conversations ranging from the latest hot takes in current news to theoretical musings on the universe.

Comments (0)

All TIGER TIMES ONLINE Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *