Formative and Summative Assessment

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is utilized to immediately determine whether students have learned what the instructor intended.  This type of assessment is intended to help instructors identify material which needs to be clarified or re-taught and should not be used to evaluate or grade students.  Results of formative assessment can assist instructors to ascertain whether curriculum or learning activities need to be modified during a class session or before the next class meets.

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment is cumulative in nature and is utilized to determine whether students have met the course goals or student learning outcomes at the end of a course or program.

Click here for a more detailed summary of Formative and Summative Assessment from Central Michigan University: Summary of Formative and Summative Assessment

Here is a link for general information on Assessment and Evaluation, from Central Michigan University Provost’s Office. (n.d.), Central Michigan University.


Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bardes, B. & Denton, J. (2001, June). Using the Grading Process for Departmental and Program Assessment. Paper presented at the American Association for Higher Education Conference; Denver, CO.