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Formative Assessment

Posted in Ed Tech 101 on January 20, 2014 by

What is “formative assessment”?

Often contrasted with summative or “final” assessment, formative assessment (also known as formative evaluation) includes a variety of assessment types that are employed during the learning process in order to improve the process itself. Formative assessment often has minimal or zero value in the grading process and is thus generally lower stakes than summative assessment, which is often associated with external benchmarks and standards.

Formative assessment provides ongoing feedback to students and teachers and is used by both parties to adjust the learning process in order to improve student outcomes. More specifically, formative assessment can help students discover their own proficiency gaps and can help faculty recognize which students are struggling in what areas and adjust their lectures and activities accordingly.

Some examples of formative assessment:

  • outlining an argument or essay
  • critiquing or commenting on peer papers and reports
  • asking students to make up their own “quizzes” testing the material at hand
  • asking students to create drawings or storyboards about the subject matter

Here at Knewton, we love geeking out over edtech – the people, the technology, and its potential to change the world. As part of our participation in the community, we’re putting together an “Ed Tech 101” glossary to explore the language itself – the buzzwords, the jargon, the neologisms, and everything in between. Have an ed tech word or phrase you’d like us to feature? Leave a comment!