Formative Assessment

Think of formative assessment as informative and as a real-time assessment. Some could consider this type of assessing diagnostic.

Formative assessments could be those quick checks, listening to student responses to questions, listening in on student conversations, student performances, student writing, whiteboards and other overt responses. Other strategies might include ticket out the door, bell work, student reflection, 3-2-1, K-W-L, the list goes on.

Formative vs. Summative

In addition to when the assessment takes place, the real difference is how the information or data is utilized.

In a nutshell, formative assessments are those checks or assessments that inform instruction which provides the information to the teacher to adjust instruction prior to the end, or end of the unit where the summative assessment usually takes place. Many times this may happen, and should happen, throughout a single lesson.

Formative Assessment Summative Assessment
Throughout the lesson and unit - *assessment for learning* X
At the end of a unit or longer - *assessment of learning* X
Informs instruction real-time, informs teacher monitoring and adjusting X
Informs future instruction X X
Informs for grades or progress towards meeting standards X X

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