Assessment? Is this a fancy name for a test?

No, it's not always a test! An assessment is a vital part of teaching and learning. Its purpose is to:

  • Gather information to understand what students know as a result of their education or experience.

  • Review multiple sources to develop a learning schedule.

  • Collect data on student learning and make inferences to improve programs.

summative assessment

Knowing one type of assessment from another can be a helpful way to support your learning. Let's look at two popular types: formative and summative assessment.

Why Do I Need An Assessment?

An assessment identifies your strengths and weaknesses on a specific topic during learning. It considers your readiness based on:

  • Goals

  • Objectives

  • Prior knowledge and experience

Man asking if an assesment helps him. Female says yes. Man with surprised face.

Types of Assessments

Formative Assessment:

  • During learning for needed improvements and not graded

Summative Assessment:

  • After learning is complete and graded to an objective standard

Little boy stating an assesment with no grade is possible.

Quiz

True or false: assessments always require a grade to be effective.

Examples of the Different Types of Assessments

Formative Assessment

  • Low-stakes quizzes

  • Reflection journals

  • Q&A assignments

  • In-class activities

  • Observations

pen on a test paper Photo by Antoine Dautry on Unsplash

Summative Assessment

  • Final exams

  • Final projects

  • Term papers

  • In-class presentations

  • Performances

man presenting information on a screen in a classroom Photo by GoodNotes on Unsplash

Quiz

You're given homework to answer questions on the chapter. This is an example of what type of assessment?

Benefits of Formative and Summative Assessments

  • Identify if you should proceed to the next level

  • Opportunity to refresh your memory of knowledge

  • Offers variety from traditional testing

Man toasting with champagne glass

If Assessments Are About Learning, Why Do I Have To Get A Grade?

Grades give you an idea of where you stand on a topic. They help you to measure and track your progress.

man saying thank you

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This Byte has been authored by

MK

Marsha Kaufman

Educator | Learning and Instructional Designer