Are you a teacher trying to improve your teaching method and help your students learn faster and better? You must be aware of the different types of learning methods that serve specific teaching and learning purposes. If formative assessments are something you’re keen to know more about, read on!

This blog will tell you all you need to know about formative assessments, which are used widely in all forms of education to enhance the teaching and learning experience.


  1. What Is The Meaning Of Formative Assessment?

  2. Formative Evaluation In Education

  3. Application Of Formative Evaluation

  4. Characteristics Of Formative Assessments

  5. Types Of Formative Assessments

  6. Importance Of Formative Assessments

  7. Advantages And Disadvantages Of Formative Assessments.

  8. Examples Of Formative Assessments



What Is The Meaning Of Formative Assessment?


Formative assessment, also known as formative evaluation, formative feedback or assessment for learning, is a collection of formal and informal assessment processes to improve learner outcomes and increase student achievement. A formative evaluation tracks student progress and provides continual feedback. Another purpose of formative assessment is to assist students in recognizing their strengths and limitations and focusing on problem areas. It allows faculty to see where pupils are struggling so that they can step in to help.

Now that we’ve explained the meaning of formative assessment, let’s look at the purpose of formative evaluation and some formative assessment examples.


Formative Evaluation In Education


Formative evaluations are assessments used to improve learning. They are usually unstructured and frequently upgraded. As we’ve seen, the purpose of formative assessments is to provide a sense of students’ understanding of a topic, allowing the instructor to adapt to the class’s changing needs. Does the instructor need to re-explain the concept the class seems shaky in? As the meaning of formative assessment suggests, these evaluations help teachers answer such questions.

Formative evaluation in education helps teachers, trainees and students estimate the cohort’s progress. The assessments are a kind of proof based on which future lessons may be planned. These are likely to be better or more well-founded because of the feedback from assessments.

Formative evaluations provide real-time feedback on what learners are learning and missing out on so that educational methods, materials and student services can adjust to meet these requirements.


Application Of Formative Evaluation


The following are some avenues where we find formative evaluation being used:


  •  Math Classes

It is critical for teachers in math education to observe how their class  deals with challenges, how it responds to different mathematical concepts and how well it can apply them when finding solutions. Understanding how students think during the studying or problem-solving process allows teachers to help them overcome intellectual challenges. As a result, this enhances learning. Formative assessment is diagnostic in this sense.

To use formative assessment in the classroom, a teacher must ensure that each pupil engages in the learning experience by presenting their opinions—that there is a judgment-free atmosphere in which pupils can offer input to one another; that the teacher provides support to students; and that guidance is configured to suit the needs of the students. Thought-revealing exercises like model-eliciting activities (MEAs) and creative activities in math classes are great for incorporating these elements of formative assessment.


  • Global Language Education

As a continuous assessment, it emphasizes the method and assists teachers in determining the present status of their students’ linguistic competence. It also allows students to engage in the modification or design of future classes. The students’ motivation to study the target language increases as they participate in their study design. It also increases their awareness of the target languages, causing them to rethink their own objectives. As a result, it assists students in achieving their objectives and it helps teachers in fostering students’ target language proficiency.


  • Computer-Assisted Instruction

Many academics are working to diversify assessment activities, expand the breadth of skills evaluated and offer students more timely and accurate feedback on their development. Others want to accommodate students’ demands for more flexible delivery and create assessment efficiencies that will reduce academic staff burdens.

The shift to desktop and online evaluation is a natural result of the growing usage of information and communication technology to improve learning. As more students want flexibility in their classes, the need for adaptable evaluation will rise as well.

A defined framework or model can be used to guide evaluation when implementing online and computer-based training.

Networked classroom devices can also be used to improve the way teachers arrange their classroom activities and lessons.

The formative assessment method, which makes the most of technology, not only allows for quick gathering, evaluation and sorting of student information, but it also gives teachers the information they need to improve their teaching method.


Characteristics Of Formative Assessments


Being familiar with the characteristics of formative assessment allows instructors to become more efficient. When you know what formative evaluations mean,  you’ll avoid grading your students only at the end of the course in favor of a more comprehensive approach.

Here’s a round-up of characteristics that’ll make the meaning of formative assessments clearer:

  • Formative assessment evaluates the learning process and the progress of the learner
  • A collaborative formative evaluation throws light on the effectiveness of a teaching technique
  • Another characteristic of formative evaluation is that it’s flexible—you don’t measure the student’s progress against a standard or benchmark
  • It calls for instructors and students to become more deliberate learners
  • The goal of formative evaluation is to collect actionable feedback to enhance the teaching and learning process
  • It’s a type of evaluation used to diagnose problems
  • Formative evaluation results can be available right away

Now that we’ve gone over the characteristics of formative evaluation, let’s study the different types of formative assessments.


Types Of Formative Assessments


Let us discuss the types of Formative Assessments in detail

  • Observation

Observing pupils as they work on a project is one type of formative evaluation. As the students work, the teacher moves around the classroom, occasionally offering support and motivation. Observation is ideal when a teacher wants to track how students engage in groups or individually. It records how well they’re doing and whether the assignment has to be changed.


  • Worksheets

Teachers can use worksheets in class or as take-home assignments. These aren’t factored into the student’s official grade but determine how well the student comprehends a topic.


  • Quizzes

These provide good feedback on a learner’s understanding of a concept. Teachers may conduct on-the-spot quizzes in class or hand out preset quizzes.


  • Journals

The journal is an efficient type of formative assessment. Students are required to regularly note their ideas and feelings regarding how they’re doing in class. They can also express their opinions on what they like and dislike about a particular project. This data allows the teacher to assess the effectiveness of a particular lesson plan.


  • Diagnostic Procedures

Diagnostic tests are a type of formative assessment that allows the instructor and management to identify the appropriate level of education for children. You use it at the start of the school year. Diagnostics can examine the level of the class’s  knowledge in practically any subject. Formulating the lessons after this exercise can reduce students’ anxiety in class.

These are just a few types of formative assessment. There are many more to choose from depending on the subject of instruction and teaching style.


Importance Of Formative Assessments


There are many benefits of formative assessments. The importance of formative evaluation extends to fields beyond education. There are chances that your project might start as per plan but run into trouble because of variables outside your control. The importance of formative evaluation lies in its potential to help you deal with unforeseen events and respond to them effectively.

Formative assessments can help you implement your project better. You will gather more knowledge and improve potential project formulation and simulation. This highlights the importance of formative assessment in business.


Advantages And Disadvantages Of Formative Assessments.

Formative assessment is an integral part of a learner’s growth trajectory. Its advantages and disadvantages are as follows.

Advantages Of Formative Assessments

  • Aids in the development of knowledge and skills: The primary advantage of formative evaluation is that it assists learners in developing knowledge and skills
  • Helps plan for a better future: Another advantage of formative assessment is that it helps teachers prepare and modify plans in a timely manner
  • Produces positive results: This is a key advantage of formative evaluations. A formative evaluation encompasses a wide range of diagnostics that help gauge student progress. The benefit of formative assessment here is that students are able to improve their performance and achieve better results

The disadvantages of formative assessments are that they can be a tiring, time-consuming process. There might also be a shortage of trained professionals to utilize this tool properly.


Examples Of Formative Assessments


Though there are various ways to conduct formative assessment, some common examples are as follows.

  • Examples of formative evaluations in education include one-minute test papers, directed paraphrasing and mid-semester evaluations
  • Self-assessments can be undertaken by students to consider their own learning experience, reflect on everything they do well and what they struggle with
  • Students can benefit from each other as learning tools through peer assessments. One peer assessment is ‘workshopping’, where students follow a rubric or rules supplied by the teacher to write a piece collaboratively
  • Other examples of formative assessments are strategic questioning and classroom polls


Attempting to understand the meaning of formative assessments shows us the tremendous impact they can have on development and education processes. With Harappa’s Inspiring Faculty Program, you can enhance your learning, plan formative assessments for real-time use and build a strong presence. We can help teachers develop innovative teaching techniques and encourage student feedback. 

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