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  • Writer's pictureAdam E. Rowland

Which Type of Assessment is Best?

As it relates to assessment items, educators can expect to work with three types: selected response, open-ended, and performance-based questions. While the implementation of the type of response depends primarily upon the purpose, open-ended and performance-based items typically allow students to demonstrate a deeper level of understanding than selected response items (Fisher & Frey, 2010). As summative assessments are mainly concerned with what a student understands at the completion of instruction, selected response questions may allow educators to gather summative data quickly; however, formative assessments that employ open-ended and performance-based questions may provide advantages that have a greater impact on learning and skills development (Fisher & Frey, 2010). Prior to designing and constructing assessments, educators should determine the purpose of their assessments and what they intend to measure; once the determination has been made, implementation of the items may be simplified.


Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2010). Guided Instruction: How to Develop Confident and Successful Learners. Alexandria, VA: Assoc. for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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