Teaching and Learning Resource Center

Formative assessment


Methods of assessing learning that provide students with frequent low-stakes practice coupled with immediate and focused feedback. These are typically in-class learning activities or informal assignments that help educators assess student learning during the learning process, enabling students to receive feedback on their progress and performance while there is still time to make adjustments. Formative assessment may or may not be graded, but it should be low-stakes enough to encourage learners to take risks and make mistakes, rather than to focus on demonstrating mastery.

Some examples of formative assessments include multiple-attempt quizzes, in-class polling, brief reflections or quick writes, homework, rough drafts, and in-class group work.

See also summative assessment.