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Formative and Summative activities and assessments

Formative and Summative activities and assessments.

  • Formative assessment is designed to help a student learn by “restructuring their understanding/skills and build more powerful ideas and capabilities.”. It is characterised as assessment for learning. It helps learners by giving feedback at an early stage that can influence the future learning process. It is seen as low stakes as it gives students the opportunity to act on any feedback before their final grade.
  • Summative assessment tries to summarise what a learner has learnt at a particular point in time. It contributes to grades and gauges the student’s ability to meet specified learning outcomes. It is characterised as assessment of learning. It is important to note that the difference between formative and summative assessment is about how it is used, rather than the type of student work leading to feedback (e.g. a piece of coursework could be summative or formative depending on the information given to the student).
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