Formative and summative assessments are two key types of assessments used in education to evaluate student learning, understand progress, and guide instruction. Both types serve different purposes and are implemented at different stages of the instructional process.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessments are informal, ongoing assessments conducted during the learning process. Their primary purpose is to monitor student learning and provide continuous feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning. These assessments help identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, allowing for timely interventions and adjustments to instruction.

Characteristics of Formative Assessments:

Benefits of Formative Assessments:

Summative Assessment

Summative assessments are formal evaluations conducted at the end of an instructional period, such as a unit, course, or academic year. Their primary purpose is to evaluate student learning, skills, and achievement based on predefined standards or criteria. These assessments are often used for grading and accountability purposes.

Characteristics of Summative Assessments:

Benefits of Summative Assessments:

Key Differences

Integrating Both Types

Effective teaching and learning often involve a combination of both formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments guide day-to-day instructional decisions and help students improve continuously, while summative assessments provide a final evaluation of what students have learned. Using both types of assessments ensures a comprehensive approach to understanding and supporting student learning.