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What is Formative Assessment?

Conducting assessment is considered to be a crucial part of the classroom curriculum. It provides the teachers with a better perspective of the growth of the students. It also allows them to understand the areas the students are suffering from so that a comprehensive class schedule can be developed to help clear their doubts.

In the last few years, the students have become more familiar with the concepts of summative and formative assessment. Yet, there still remains some confusion regarding the concept of formative assessment and the difference present with summative assessment. In this given article we are going to talk about What is Formative Assessment and why it has become a crucial part of students growth.

What is Formative Assessment? 

The question of What is Formative Assessment can be defined as an assessment type that is planned previously and is mostly an ongoing process.The formative assessment is utilized by all students and teachers during the entire learning and teaching process.

It is mostly used as evidence of understanding the capabilities of the students in the classroom. It also contributes towards gaining a better understanding of how the students have been improving along with proper management of their everyday learning outcomes.

The question of what is formative assessment can also be answered as a disciplinary approach that is utilized by teachers to monitor the learning process of the students. Formative assessments are considered to be crucial for student growth. Because it allows them to pay attention to the classroom and learn about both theoretical and practical approaches to any concept.

Difference between Summative and Formative Assessments

There has long been a confusion present regarding waters formative assessment and what is summative assessment. There is a strong difference present between these two concepts.

We have already learnt in the section above what is formative assessment, which is mostly a planned and strategized learning process to test the growth of the students. On the other hand the summative assessments can be defined as an examination that is utilized to evaluate the student learning at the end of any particular instructional unit.

In the case of formative assessment there is no specific benchmark present. However, in the case of summative assessment that is not true because there is some standard benchmark outline that students have to cross to showcase their knowledge on the subject.

Another important difference that can be highlighted regarding what is formative assessment and the difference it has with summative assessment is that the former usually does not have any high stakes present. This means that mostly they do not carry any grade that will have an encouraging impact on the students.

This is not the case for summative assessment because it comprises a certain grade or mark the students need to ace pass the subject. This means that the major goal of summative is always true value for the students while for formative it is mostly to test the students on their knowledge retention capacity.

Types of Formative Assessment

When learning about what is formative assessment it is also important to know that it has four distinct types. This includes conducting classroom quizzes, the use of exit slips, KWL (Know, Want to Know and Learned) charts and lastly SOS (Summary, Opinion, Suggestion).

Each of these formative assessment types are utilized by teachers in the classroom to constantly test the ability of the students to understand the content being taught in the classroom. In this way it becomes easier for the Teachers to understand the areas the students need more revision and develop the classroom schedule accordingly.

Benefits of Formative Assessment

Conducting formative assessments also has its own benefits that cannot be overlooked. In the section below an outline of the many benefits associated with formative assessments have been provided.

  1. Formative assessments help in defining the learning goals precisely making it easy for the students to understand.
  2. It helps in providing personalized learning experience that leads to better knowledge retention capability.
  3. It allows for identifying targets and focusing on them. It also helps in achieving targeted feedback that leads to better improvement.
  4. It allows for students to be able to increase their engagement in the classroom and improve the knowledge retention capability.
  5. Through the help of formative assessments it becomes possible for students to self regulate themselves and create their own learning schedule.


 Hence, to conclude There are several advantages associated with conducting formative assessments that cannot be ignored. Hence, specific planning should be conducted to make formative assessments successful.

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