For all children, assessment is vital to the instruction process. In order for teachers to know what interventions and instruction strategies are working, assessments are critical in gauging progress, examining directions to take, and illuminating questions of effectiveness in the classroom setting.
Formative assessments are critical in the benchmark aspect of learning. The formative assessment helps to given an almost daily reading of the pulse of children's understandings. Formative assessment helps to guide instruction and offer feedback on a daily basis. For students with or without special needs, formative assessment is significant because it helps to validate in a "real time" situation where the stress of teaching strategies should be and how progress "looks" on an almost daily basis. Instruction is guided based on the results of formative assessment.
The summative assessment is also important to children with or without special needs. Summative assessments help to guide yearly progress and whether ot not instruction has been effective. Interventions, approaches to learning, and student growth can and are measured by summative assessments. Instruction strategies have to be aligned with summative assessments for so much is at stake with this element of "high stakes" learning. Children with or without special needs experience different realities because of their performance on summative assessment. Such a reality justifies how they are viewed and how instruction needs to be aligned with them.