Formative assessments are smaller (low point) assessments that take place throughout (weekly, biweekly, etc.) the course or unit. The goal is to monitor the students learning, allowing you to provide feedback to students and receive feedback on your teaching before the end of the semester.
Formative assessment is used for both the designer of the assessment/course materials and the student’s development. Students can use formative assessments to help identify their strengths and weaknesses to target areas that need more development based on instructor feedback and scores. Educators can use formative feedback to monitor students learning and, if necessary, intervene with additional help if needed. The course designer uses the assessment data to determine the success or failure of teaching materials by evaluating the grades/scores. If the majority of students failed, then the conclusion would be that the materials and/or teaching of the materials were unsuccessful and should be redesigned.
Examples of Formative assessment:
Concept maps, Readiness Assessment Tests (RATs), early feedback on drafts (projects, papers), assignments, short quizzes, discussion boards, assessments on single concepts, journals, etc.
Summative assessments are directed towards the major outcomes (competencies/goals) that should be attained at the end of the course or unit. Summative assessments in higher education are often a high point/percentage of the overall course grade. Designers and educators can use the summative data collected to determine if the course meets the learning goals/competencies. Students can use the summative assessment score to reflect on their learning experience.
Examples of Summative assessments:
Mid-term or final exams, final papers, end of unit/chapter tests, final projects, etc.
In the next section, we will be learning about quiz and exam questions.