Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Assignments & Tests

Best practices and links to resources related to a variety of assignment types and tests


Many people use the terms assessment and evaluation interchangeably, partly because they are both concerned with measuring success. To differentiate between them, consider this:

  • Assessment relates to learners.
  • Evaluation relates to the learning process.

An assessment will typically fulfill one of two general purposes. Formative assessments are designed to help you receive and give feedback that will promote further student learning. Summative assessments allow students to demonstrate their achievement of the learning objectives. The following table further highlights the differences.

Assessment Types
Factors Formative Assessment Summative Assessment
Purpose To gauge how well students are learning while they are still forming their understanding To measure how well students have learned at the end of instruction (or an instructional unit)
Characteristics Generally low stakes - little or no point value and low consequences  Generally high stakes - significant point value and consequences for overal grade
Main Result
  • Students receive useful feedback on their progress
  • Can help you make informed decisions about how to shape instruction going forward
  • Students receive a grade and, often, summarizing feedback
  • Can help you make informed decisions about how to shape instruction for next time you teach
  • "Check for Understanding" quiz
  • "Muddiest point" discussion forum
  • "One-Minute Reflection" journal entry
  • Self-assessment
  • Unit test
  • Final project
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Research paper

Evaluation involves judgment, such as when students complete a course evaluation or an accreditation team evaluates an academic program. The purpose is to ascertain effectiveness and inform possible improvements.

Contact Us

Center for Instructional Design and Technology • • 208.467.8034 • Learning Commons 146