Assessment refers to the evaluation of something. When it comes to learning, students are assessed by the educational institution, to analyse their learning graph, their understanding level and progress. It also helps in planning further study material. Assessment can be of two types, i.e. it can be formative or summative. The formative assessment (FA) is conducted during the learning process, whereas the summative assessment (SA) is undertaken only at the end of the course or unit. The basic points of difference between formative and summative assessment are provided in the article presented below.
Content: Formative Assessment Vs Summative Assessment
|Basis for Comparison||Formative Assessment||Summative Assessment|
|Meaning||Formative Assessment refers to a variety of assessment procedures that provides the required information, to adjust teaching, during the learning process.||Summative Assessment is defined as a standard for evaluating learning of students.|
|What is it?||It is an assessment for learning.||It is an assessment of learning.|
|Frequency||Monthly or quarterly||Term end|
|Aims at||Enhancing learning||Measuring student's competency.|
|Goal||Monitor student learning.||Evaluate student learning.|
|Weight of grades||Low||High|
Definition of Formative Assessment
A set of formal and informal assessment methods undertaken by the teachers at the time of the learning process is known as Formative Assessment. It is a part of the instructional process, which is undertaken by the teachers, with an objective of enhancing the student’s understanding and competency, by modifying teaching and learning methods.
Formative Assessment attempts to provide direct and detailed feedback to both teachers and students, regarding the performance and learning of the student. It is a continuous process, that observes student’s needs and progress, in the learning process.
Definition of Summative Assessment
Summative Assessment refers to the evaluation of students; that focuses on the result. It is a part of the grading process which is given periodically to the participants, usually at the conclusion of the course, term or unit. The purpose is to check the knowledge of the students, i.e. to what extent they have learned the material, taught to them.
Summative Assessment, seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the course or program, checks the learning progress, etc. Scores, grades or percentage obtained to act as an indicator that shows the quality of the curriculum and forms a basis for rankings in schools.
Key Differences Between Formative and Summative Assessment
The difference between formative and summative assessment can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:
- Formative Assessment refers to a variety of assessment procedures that provides the required information, to adjust teaching, during the learning process. Summative Assessment is defined as a standard for evaluating learning of students.
- Formative Assessment is diagnostic in nature while Summative Assessment is evaluative.
- Formative Assessment is an assessment for learning, whereas summative Assessment is an assessment of learning.
- Formative Assessment occurs on an on-going basis, either monthly or quarterly. On the other hand, Summative Assessment occurs only at specific intervals which are normally end of the course.
- Formative Assessment is conducted to enhance the learning of the students. Conversely, Summative Assessment is conducted to judge student’s performance.
- Formative Assessment is undertaken to monitor student’s learning. As opposed to Summative Assessment, aims at evaluating student’s learning.
- The value of grades of formative assessment is less than the summative assessment, in a sense that grades obtained in FA will tell about the student’s understandability while grades of SA, will determine whether the students should be promoted or not.
The principal difference between these two assessment procedures is that, while the formative assessment is a kind of the instructional process, summative assessment is a sort of grading process. A balanced assessment is based on both the two, that provides necessary information about the next steps of the teachers and to measure student’s learning regarding the content standard.