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Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning (MATL)

Directing Professor

Deborah Jessee


Summative assessments are an integral tool for teachers’ understanding of their students’ progress. Traditionally, the summative assessments used are multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank tests, benchmark tests, and high stakes tests. In recent years, many researchers have been conducting studies on the use of alternative summative assessments, like projects, journals, portfolios, and presentations, and many believe they are beneficial. The purpose of this study was to gain teachers’ perspectives on the use of alternative summative assessments in grades 3, 4, and 5 (upper elementary grades). Data was collected through interviews of upper elementary school teachers in both public and independent schools. It has been concluded that, in fact, many teachers use alternative summative assessments in their classroom, but not exclusively. Preparation for high stakes testing or future test-taking situations and planning/preparation time tend to be the reasons as to why they are not being exclusively used. Alternative summative assessments can be effective when students prove their knowledge on their own, without teacher assistance. Summative assessments should vary between alternative and traditional based on how they best meet the needs of students.