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