Formative evaluation characteristics, instruments used

Anthony Golden
Formative evaluation characteristics, instruments used

The formative assessment It is a process involved in education that consists of examining the learning processes of the students, in such a way that it is possible to intervene in the methodology used in the class to improve the understanding of the topics covered in the classroom.

This model differs from the other two types of evaluation used within the educational system: summative and diagnostic. However, despite the fact that the three fulfill different roles, they are not opposites, but rather their functions complement each other in order to better evaluate the teaching process..

The main functions of formative assessment, therefore, are the following: guiding students within the classroom, regulating learning processes based on the feedback received, and motivating students by showing them everything they have learned so far.

Article index

  • 1 Features
    • 1.1 It requires establishing a series of goals for the learning process
    • 1.2 Students must take responsibility for their learning
    • 1.3 Identify the steps necessary to reach the goal
    • 1.4 Encourages self-assessment and collaboration among students
    • 1.5 Include constant feedback
    • 1.6 It is individual and qualitative
    • 1.7 Develops reflection and self-criticism
  • 2 Instruments used
  • 3 References


Requires setting a series of goals for the learning process

The main function of formative assessment is to discover whether the objectives set for the school year are being met or not. Therefore, both teachers and students have to be clear about the goals that they intend to achieve within a class.

Thus, resources such as significant learning or the minimum requirements specified in the teaching guide can be used as a guide; Or, in a non-formal education context, educational objectives can be set jointly with students.

Students must take responsibility for their learning

Formative assessment is based on the idea that students have to play an active role within the context of education.

In this way, the examinations and tests that are carried out to see if the objectives are being met have to serve as feedback to modify your approach if the current one is not working.

Thus, if the formative assessment is applied correctly, a failed exam should serve as motivation for the student, since it would provide the necessary information to change what they are doing and pass the next.

Identify the steps necessary to reach the goal

Using formative assessment tools, students can identify where they are and what they need to do to achieve educational goals. Thus, the diagnosis helps them feel more motivated because it clearly shows them the way forward..

However, to achieve this the evaluation must be well designed. Otherwise, the student who is faced with a failure will not understand what has happened, and will feel powerless in the face of this negative result..

Encourages self-assessment and collaboration among students

Because students are clear about where they have to go and where they are at any given time, it is much easier for them to actively reflect on how good their work is and what they have to change about it..

Thus, students to whom a good formative assessment is applied take a more active role in their own learning. In this way, they can take much better advantage of the teachings of teachers.

On the other hand, this type of assessment would also encourage collaboration among students. When a student observes that another has problems that he has already overcome, it will be much easier to help him if he really wants to do it..

On the contrary, if the steps to be taken were not clearly marked, this collaboration would be much more difficult..

Includes constant feedback

To be effective, the formative assessment cannot consist of a single exam at the end of each trimester. If this were done, the information received by the students would not be relevant nor would it allow them to change the course of their actions in time..

On the contrary, teachers who want to adopt this methodology must be able to give it a feedback I continue to the students.

This will be done through the application of the different tools designed for this purpose, such as midterms, essays, debates, diaries or pertinent questions..

In this way, students know at all times where they are, and can rectify their way of studying or their attitude towards learning at any point in the school year.

It is individual and qualitative

Compared to the more traditional evaluation models, formative evaluation takes into account all the aspects that can influence the learning process of a specific student.

Thus, not only their performance in a specific exam matters, but other elements such as whether there has been improvement or not, their socioeconomic context, the materials used in teaching and their effectiveness, and the motivation and individual effort of each of the students. students.

Develops reflection and self-criticism

Because students know at all times how they are in relation to the learning objectives, and exactly where they are failing, they are much more likely to actively reflect on the work they are doing on a day-to-day basis..

Thus, instead of feeling intimidated by the educational context, they will gradually acquire the ability to criticize themselves and modify their behavior to achieve good results..

Instruments used

In general, formative assessment uses all kinds of tools extracted from normal educational processes, but adapted to serve the specific objectives of this process..

Thus, for example, exams are still one of the most used instruments for this type of evaluation. But, unlike in a normal classroom, they are done just after finishing a unit of the syllabus, and they must clearly show what is being evaluated with each question.

On the other hand, teachers can also make use of more participatory tools, to encourage the involvement of students in their own learning. Thus, evaluation techniques fulfill a double function: to give feedback students, and motivate them to improve day by day.

For example, problem-solving sessions are held, students are instructed to write essays and present in class, and they are allowed to carry out their own projects on the topic being learned..


  1. "Formative evaluation" in: Agency for the Quality of Education. Retrieved on: June 06, 2018 from the Education Quality Agency:
  2. "Formative evaluation" in: Educating. Retrieved on: June 06, 2018 from Educando:
  3. "Differences between Formative and Summative Assessment" in: The Flipped Classroom. Retrieved on: June 06, 2018 from The Flipped Classroom:
  4. "Formative evaluation" in: Educar Chile. Retrieved on: June 06, 2018 from Educar Chile:
  5. "10 main characteristics of formative assessment" in: Scribd. Retrieved: June 06, 2018 from Scribd:

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