Formative assessment is assessment for learning. It is used atthe beginning of an instructional period and during the processof instruction as teachers check for student understanding.Diagnostic tools determine what students already know andwhere there are gaps and misconceptions. Formativeassessment also includes assessment as learning, wherestudents reflect on and monitor their own progress. Theinformation gained guides teachers’ decisions in how toenhance teaching and learning. Formative assessment enablesstudents to learn through the process of feedback andopportunities to practice and improve. As students reflect onand monitor their progress, this process effectively becomesassessment as learning and contributes to students planningfuture learning goals.
Summative assessment – is assessment oflearning. It is used towards and at the end ofthe instruction period. Teachers document theculmination of students’ learningachievements through tasks that invitestudents to demonstrate their mastery andknowledge of the course content. Summativeassessment data provides teachers withinformation about how effective teachingstrategies have been, time needed forinstruction and how to improve teaching forfuture students.
Assessment (either summative or formative) is often categorized as either objective or subjective.
Objective assessment is a form ofquestioning which has a single correctanswer. It is also known as selected-response items. A scoring key for correctresponses is created and can be appliedby an examiner or by a computer. Thescoring is easy, objective and reliable.The task is highly structured and clearwhere it can measure both simple andcomplex learning outcomes. However,constructing good items is timeconsuming and it is ineffective tomeasure some types of problem-solvingitems.
Subjective assessment is a form of questioning which may havemore than one correct answer (or more than one way ofexpressing the correct answer). It is known as Constructed-Response Items. It requires students to write out informationrather than select a response from a menu. In scoring, manyconstructed-response items require judgment on the part ofexaminer. It can measure the highest level of learning outcomessuch as analysis, synthesis and evaluation and the integrationand application of ideas can be emphasized. In term ofpreparation, the essay types questions can be prepared in lesstime compared to selection-types format. However, thedisadvantage is that scoring is time consuming, subjective andpossibly unreliable.
In terms of comparison, assessment can be eitherCriterion-referenced assessment or Norm-referenced assessmentCriterion-referenced assessment: Typically, using a criterion-referenced test occurs when students are measured againstdefined (and objective) criteria. Criterion-referencedassessment is often, but not always, used to establish a person’scompetence (whether s/he can do something).
Norm-referenced assessment : Typically, using a norm-referenced test, is not measured against defined criteria. Thistype of assessment is relative to the student undertaking theassessment. It is effectively a way of comparing students. The IQtest is the best known example of norm-referenced assessment.Many entrance tests (to prestigious schools or universities) arenorm-referenced, permitting a fixed proportion of students topass (‘passing’ in this context means being accepted into theschool or university rather than an explicit level of ability). Thismeans that standards may vary from year to year, depending onthe quality of the cohort, criterion-referenced assessment on theother hand does not vary from year to year (unless the criteriachange).
Assessment is either oral or writtenOral assessments are tasks designed to provide studentswith opportunities to develop and demonstrate theircommand of spoken presentation content. Writtenassessment can include essays, assignments, reports,dissertations, diaries, portfolios and workbooks. It may takeplace as course work or in an examination.
Assessment also can be internal or external Internal assessment is set and marked by the school (i.e. teachers). Students get the mark and feedback regarding the assessment. External assessment is set by the governing body, and is marked by non- biased personnel. With external assessment, students only receive a mark. Therefore, they have no idea how they actually performed (i.e. what bits they answered correctly.)
Besides, assessment is either formal or informalThe following table illustrates the difference between formal andinformal assessment.