The difference lays mostly in how the results of the assessment are meant to be applied.
Formative Assessment (aka Instructionally Supportive):
Feedback on how a student is learning, as they are learning. Describes areas of relative strength/weakness within a student’s understanding of a topic so that future instruction can be iterated for this student.
eg. Asking a student to summarize their understanding of a lesson.
Summative Assessment (aka Administrative Accountability):
Post-mortem feedback on how well a student has learned a topic overall compared to a benchmark.
eg. Final exam / Standardized Tests.
See all Glossary posts.
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