Formative vs. Summative Assessments: What’s the Difference?

Formative Vs. Summative Assessments


Summative and formative assessments are two different ways of evaluating learning accomplished by students. The kind of assessment strategy that should be selected for the specific lesson or a specific teaching program depends on the large range of differences between formative and summative assessments. Therefore it is important to take a closer look at the range of difference is between the formative and the summative kind of assessments. On studying the differences in the definition of the two assessment types it is possible to state that the difference in definitions are imperative to understanding the difference in approaches in the two assessment (Sanchezet al., 2017). Firstly it deserves mention that formative assessment is used for monitoring of the learning is accomplished by students so that they can be provided with ongoing feedback. This feedback can be used by the instructors as well as the educators for improvement of their teaching quality and in fact by the students for improvement of their learning outcomes .nevertheless summative assessments on the other hand are used for evaluation of the learning accomplished by students at the end of any instructional unit through comparison of the same against some specific protocol or specific benchmark. The definitions make it evident that the two assessment strategies should not be evaluated in the same way. Therefore this research study makes and in-depth approach to understand and discuss the biggest differences between formative and summative differences.

Differences Between Formative And Summative Assessments

The initial big difference is observed when the assessment is the taking place during the learning process of the student. As it is already articulated by the definition the process of formative assessment is a continuous activity. This is an evaluation that is taking place during the process of learning itself. This is not only a onetime thing but it occurs several times. On the other hand summative evaluation is taking place at completely other times. It is not taking place during the process but after the completion of the process. This evaluation process takes place after the course is completed or a unit is completed (Bazelais, Doleck& Lemay, 2017).

Another major difference between these two assessment strategies is obtaining appropriate information regarding the learning of the student. On one and formative assessments help individuals to identify whether the student is a doing well in every aspect or the individual require help and the same is identified through a process of monitoring of the learning processes. On the other hand summative assessment is used for assignment of final grades as the learning accomplishment. This grade signify whether the student has been achieved in the desire to mark in the respective learning objective or not. The next and III difference regarding the two assessments types is atom the objectives of the assessments are very apart. For formative skills assessment test the objective is improvement of the learning of students. In order to do this it is important to improve the learning of the student (Dolinet al., 2018). Again in order to improve the learning of students it is important to provide significant feedback to them. In case of summative assignment the objective is itself evaluating the achievement of students. Hence if your mentation of any of the two kinds of assessments depend on whether the individual taking the decision want the students to be best at something for the individual want students transcending themselves every time over and over again.

The next big difference in this regard is that it during formative assessment evaluation is taking place for more than one location during the throughout learning process. However in case of summative assessments it is taking place during the chapter or the course. In this regard the difference is that the package of the evaluation process is different for both cases. Formative assessment incorporates little and specific content areas. For evidence 3 formative evaluations of a single chapter. On the contrary summative assessment incorporates complete chapters or the content area. For evidence one evaluation at the end of the chapter. The other difference in this regard is that formative assessment considered as evaluation to be a process (Mahshanian, Shoghi&Bahrami, 2019). This is an approach by means of which teachers can observe a student growing and help the students to be guided in the upward journey. In contrast summative assessment is harder from the teacher’s perspective as it is difficult for the teacher to guide the student regarding the mistakes committed during a specific course after the end outcome has been achieved. This is however the final outcome of all evidences and guidance which has been provided to the students’ sofar before undertaking the summative assessment.

Examples Of Both Kinds Of Assessments

Formative Assessments

Formative assessment can take the shape of classroom polling, exit ticket, Small repetitive feedbacks and so on. However they can be made more interesting. For evidence in response to question in specific or topic enquiry students writing on three different summaries which are 15 words long followed by 50 words long and find 300 words long. This is a typical example. Another example is 3-2-1 countdown exercise. In this regard student’s canon note down the information or they might respond verbal. They have to respond to three specific statement or requirements (Houston & Thompson, 2017). The third is the things that didn’t know before. Followed by this is the thing that surprised them regarding a specific topic which is being currently studied and in the first place is the thing that you want to start doing with what they have learnt with this topic. Example is that of the 1-minute paper which are usually done at the end of individual lessons (Daveet al., 2017). In this case student generally answer brief questions in writing format. The questions are typically focused around the primary objective of learning of this course and they might be the surprising concept or a very confusing area of the topic or what question might come out as a research gap from this topic to be studied in during the next test.

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment is more popular as a decisive and conclusive outcome of learners as well as educators. Education is a slow learning agenda and providing student grades which is comparatively easier to do from the perspective of teachers. In this case they do not need to take a follow through and a follow up and note that down at the end of every small test and take up to cancer from that to improve educational outcomes of every student. This is a decisive outcome where students as well as teachers get to know the end outcome of the teaching and learning a gender from both perspectives (Durdikuliyevna, Anvarovna&Zulayho, 2019). The examples of summative assessments are the midterm examination or end unit or chapter ending for final project and presentations. There are specific and discrete benchmarks used along with scoring criteria for accountability of the university as well as students and even in further educational domains.

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Finer Distinguishing

Any administrator or supervisor or teacher are frequent with use of either formative or summative assessments. any curriculum map is incomplete without acute presence of both of these. Nevertheless they have real significance from multiple perspectives as it has been evident. In a nutshell, formative assessment can be quiz as well as test which help in evolution of someone and the way they are using learning material for their individual learning accomplishments throughout educational courses. in contrast it can be highlighted that summative assessment can be quiz as well as test which help in evaluation of how much the individual has learnt following any criteria and process throughout the course and this test is taken at a point when the individual has accomplished whatever they had to do during the course to judge the final outcome and then move on to the next course (Schwinninget al., 2018). In the classroom setting it imply formative assessments taking place during specific course and summative assessment being final evaluation at the end of the course.

Formative assessments can be understood as evaluation of learning process of individuals in classrooms. The common formative assessment incorporate quiz or game or project or presentation or group activities. Formative assessments deliver great outcome when used on every day basis. The regularity can be based on the calendar basis or on the basis of the lesson plan that is used by the teacher for the respective educational unit or by the student itself. In this case they have more flexibility in comparison to summative assessment. It is not always imperative to use pencil and paper to understand the progress of students. In contrast it can be highlighted that in class game or group presentation and infect hands-on activities can also be used for evaluation of the progress achieved by the students. In the end it can also be noted that formative assessments can be used with flexibility and absolutely in the way the student or teacher wants to use the same for progress.

In this case the engagement should be better and the discretion is absolutely on the basis of the teacher as the individual educating a class or unit of students knows them best. Hence if it is preferable to get overview of how the students are learning in accumulation then group waste points in the formation of games can be organised. Nevertheless if individuals are trying to understand how each of the student is a struggling than individual assessment in the format of quiz can be organised. However it is more important to note in this regard that it is important to keep the flexibility to act in different formats of assessment so that the students are engaged and work which medication in the assessment (Bijsterbosch, van der Schee& Kuiper,2017). It enables the teacher as well to stick on with a syllabus while mixing up specific tasks each student need to perform in this regard.

This is how predictable routine will not be formed and the best teaching techniques will come handy. In contrast there is also a differentiated routine of teaching game quiz as well as teaching presentation or project or any other interesting format. By the end of the education resource the flexibility in this kind of assessment will provide the teacher with a complete understanding of how the learning objectives of the students has been accomplished. The credibility of the teaching and the learning outcomes will be clarified by this time. Thereby it will be possible to keep a check on the grades and walked on to find options for looking up at patterns among the multiple class sections. It helps to clearly identify if there is a specific area where the individual student is doing words in comparison to others (Buchholtzet al., 2018). Slight adjustments in the lessons can actually help in achievement of better outcomes among specific students who have been performing was in comparison to others in that specific respect.

It is not possible to achieve phenomenal out some for the entire class in the end term assessment overnight however it is more in natural to walk through adjustments by small and unit assessments so that the and outcome is statutory and maintains a standard. This is the credibility of formative assessment. It is already evident that it provides exceptional opportunities to the students to make their creative muscles flexible and law and the way they prefer to do so. In fact students can have fun while they are attending these kinds of assessments. The discussion regarding the kinds of formative assessments will help in demonstrating how students can make the related activities interesting (Yüksel&Gündüz, 2017). The first option in this regard is making an advertisement. The teachers can enable students to create advertisements for concepts they just learnt. They can use the visuals and text to really sell their own ideas. This will enable the students to apply what they have already learnt in to creative exercising and it will also help them to use their visceral as well as audio visual learning process for a sustainable learning experience and knowledge retention.

Nevertheless for the most interesting outcomes in the form of formative assessments are idea comparison. The teachers in this regard can instruct the students to lay out primary ideas of the new concepts that the immediately learnt. Then they might be able to compare the concept with another to see where the concept agree or disagree with the previously learnt subjects. Misconceptions are another format of learning in this regard. After the concept has been introduced to the students it is important to introduce popular misconceptions regarding the same topic. It will be up to the students to discuss why the misconceptions would be false and also map the falsification to annihilate the wrong concept and strongly acquire the right concept.

The summative assessments on the other hand are evaluation of what has been learned throughout the educational regimen. The common kind of summative assessments in corporate stays followed by final exams as well as report and papers and projects at the end of the class. The summative assessments are always taking place to In The end of the courses unless the teacher is deciding to break the course into specific manageable chunks. On some occasions cumulative summative assessments is undertaken and used for the evaluation of the long-term information retention of students. In summative assessments like that are final exams it is possible to include questions from the first week for the second week or the entire course for ensuring that the students have retained the introductory information as well. Another form of assessments like papers the students can pull up from the entire marking period of learning for applications to a specific topic (Gutjahr, Menon &Nedungadi, 2017). In any way that students have to do some specific reflection process and critical thinking for accumulating information of the entire course together. This is a specific and spectacular way of ensuring that the students have retained critical information from one course to the other. this is important since the success achieved by the students in the classroom is a single step for them. When the teacher is preparing them for the next step it becomes easier for the students to succeed in future as well. hence in this regard it can be articulated that summative assessment fulfils two important objectives. Firstly it helps in evaluation of food what has been learnt by an individual in the classroom. Secondly it helps in evaluating how someone has prepared oneself to approach the next academic standard. Combined with the rest of the performers, summative assessment are excellent opportunity of gauging progress alongside ensuring long-term information retention.

Tracking Formative Assessments

It is not only enough to demonstrate a flexible approach to formative assessment to ensure engagement at collective as well as individual level. It is also important to track the outcome of formative assessments and apply and implement a specific graduation system based on which the testification can be used for further learning. Firstly it is viable that the assessments can be tracked with the help of grade. Upgrades provide with a specific as well as concentrated perception of the student is learning. It is a specific evaluation of the learning quality of the students for stop on the downside the graded assessments might be a source of excessive educational stress for students. Therefore if the objective is to make the educational process interesting and funny for the students graded assignments might not be the best alternative (van Groen & Eggen, 2019). Then it is important to apply the second process which is tracking them by making them feel. Making the students feel is something that is based on the instant of the teacher which helps and enables students to be picked up as in need for additional support.in contrast this is something which is rarely hypothecated by administrators as every educational institution has some parameters to be made at the end of learning sessions and without grades it will not be possible to prove that the specific parameters of learning has been achieved from the end of the teachers. Final it can be highlighted that it is possible to track the outcome of formative assessments with the help of student data. This is a kind of non-branded information which reflects how students in learning. Sometimes questions asked frequently by them for the approach undertaken by them for answering questions asked to them can be studied.

Approaches Of Summative Assessment

In Depth Report

It includes instructions students to select topics which resonates with them in the class and prepare in-depth report regarding it. It is a great opportunity for the students to work on idea and run their own supervision along with it. This can i report showcases the interest of the student and it becomes easier to evaluate the engagement level of the students during the class by how they approach in the report. This is a passion based objective intelligence as well as comprehensiveness of the examination is also retained.

Cumulative, Individual Projects

As a part of this kind of individual projects the student can pick up projects by themselves to complete. This project should reflect what the students have learnt throughout their educational course. In a view of essay writer Australia this kind of projects are great for practical application is in the class of a specific subjects like health science of physics. Creation of cross section of the human heart for designing a diet or creating a egg drop whistle are funny way students can show the knowledge of their learning (Valero & Cárdenas, 2017).

Papers Of Personal Evaluation

These papers needs students apply the principles from their individual classes to personal lives. These papers are excellent for psychology or nutrition of finance for business studies or other theory-based lessons. The personal evaluations allows students to take a look at themselves through a different perspective at the same time exploring nuances of principles they have acquired in the class. In addition to that it allows the students to do something that is loved by them which is talking about themselves.

Tracking Summative Assessments

Individual students have their respective ideas over a specific topic which is why grades are best way of evaluating the success as used by individuals in context with summative assessment. The quality of grades ultimately depend on variable parameters with which a student approaches towards learning. Presentations are now a days considered best way of getting someone on the basis of number of factors which incorporate soft skills like that of public speaking. Written exams are the project-based assessments are ideal for perceiving the full scope of the student in understanding during the class (Khan &Jawaid, 2020). Whatever the packet is important to be consistent in the grading scale so that it is it possible to identify the strength and weaknesses of the students in the classroom after the accomplishment of the educational course.


In conclusion it can be articulated that the debate regarding whether formative or summative is the best opportunity of assessment is ongoing. In a perfect educational domain both are equally important. It can be summarised that formative assessments enables students to exhibit what their learning and how their learning and summative assessments are the outcome which enables them to understand what they have learnt in the end. In addition with standardized tests education in this country provide great scope of formative value-added assessments as well. It is not rare to find emphasis on any of the other two by the basement. In accompaniment with summative assessment many formative assessments perform the task of milestones whereas summative assessment simply show the bottom line. Teachers encouraged to look at both the assessments as both sides of the same coin. In order to achieve a flawless educational experience both kinds of assistant should be equally implemented.

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Reference List

Bazelais, P., Doleck, T., & Lemay, D. J. (2017). Exploring the Association Between Formative and Summative Assessments in a Pre-University Science Program. Journal of Formative Design in Learning1(2), 65-72.

Bijsterbosch, E., van der Schee, J., & Kuiper, W. (2017). Meaningful learning and summative assessment in geography education: An analysis in secondary education in the Netherlands. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 26(1), 17-35.

Buchholtz, N. F., Krosanke, N., Orschulik, A. B., &Vorhölter, K. (2018). Combining and integrating formative and summative assessment in mathematics teacher education. ZDM50(4), 715-728.

Dave, S., Chakravorty, I., Menon, G., Sidhu, K., Bamrah, J. S., & Mehta, R. (2020). Differential Attainment in Summative Assessments within Postgraduate Medical Education & Training. Sushruta Journal of Health Policy & Opinion13(3).

Dolin, J., Black, P., Harlen, W., &Tiberghien, A. (2018). Exploring relations between formative and summative assessment. In Transforming assessment (pp. 53-80). Springer, Cham.

Durdikuliyevna, A. A., Anvarovna, C. D., &Zulayho, A. (2019). FORMATIVE AND SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT IN TEACHING PROCESS. European Journal of Research and Reflection in Educational Sciences Vol7(12).

Gutjahr, G., Menon, K., &Nedungadi, P. (2017, November). Using an Intelligent tutoring system to predict mathematics and English Assessments. In 2017 5th IEEE International Conference on MOOCs, Innovation and Technology in Education (MITE) (pp. 135-140). IEEE.

Houston, D., & Thompson, J. N. (2017). Blending Formative and Summative Assessment in a Capstone Subject:‘It’s not your tools, it’s how you use them’. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice14(3), 2.

Khan, R. A., &Jawaid, M. (2020). Technology enhanced assessment (TEA) in COVID 19 pandemic. Pakistan journal of medical sciences36(COVID19-S4), S108.

Mahshanian, A., Shoghi, R., &Bahrami, M. (2019). Investigating the differential effects of formative and summative assessment on EFL learners’ end-of-term achievement. Journal of Language Teaching and Research10(5), 1055-1066.

Sanchez, C. E., Atkinson, K. M., Koenka, A. C., Moshontz, H., & Cooper, H. (2017). Self-grading and peer-grading for formative and summative assessments in 3rd through 12th grade classrooms: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology109(8), 1049.

Schwinning, N., Striewe, M., Massing, T., Hanck, C., &Goedicke, M. (2018). Towards digitalisation of summative and formative assessments in academic teaching of statistics. arXiv preprint arXiv:1811.02391.

Valero, G., & Cárdenas, P. (2017). Formative and summative assessment in veterinary pathology and other courses at a Mexican veterinary college. Journal of veterinary medical education44(2), 331-337.

van Groen, M. M., & Eggen, T. J. (2019). Educational test approaches: the suitability of computer-based test types for assessment and evaluation in formative and summative contexts. Journal of Applied Testing Technology21(1), 12-24.

Yüksel, H. S., &Gündüz, N. (2017). Formative and summative assessment in higher education: opinions and practices of instructors. European Journal of Education Studies.

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