Formative assessment is a type of assessment that is used to monitor student learning and provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning . It is a continuous process that involves gathering and interpreting information about student learning as it is happening in the classroom . The goal of formative assessment is to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work, while also helping faculty recognize where students are struggling and address problems immediately . Formative assessments are generally low stakes, which means that they have low or no point value. Examples of formative assessments include asking students to draw a concept map in class to represent their understanding of a topic, submit one or two sentences identifying the main point of a lecture, or turn in a research proposal for early feedback .
In contrast, summative assessment is used to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark . Summative assessments are often high stakes, which means that they have a high point value. Examples of summative assessments include a midterm exam, a final project, a paper, or a senior recital .