The tables below may offer more differences as well as examples of formative and summative assessments.

                            Formative Assessment

Summative Assessment

Assessment  for learning

  Assessment of  learning

Purpose: to provide feedback/information to:  

     a)  improve/adjust instruction, and/or

     b)  provide information to students to foster growth

Purpose: to evaluate student learning or mastery at the end of a chapter, unit, or course

Focus on Process

Focus on Product

Monitor Learning

Assess Learning

Occurs During Instructional Process

Occurs at End of Instructional Process

Informal or Formal


Low Stakes / Low Point Value

High Stakes/ High Point Value

Results used to provide feedback to support student growth or inform teacher practice

Results used to provide grades

Provides opportunities to improve performance

No opportunity to change result/grade

Examples of Assessment
Formative Assessments
Summative Assessments


End of chapter test

Exit Tickets

End of unit test

Polling in class, Surveys

End of course exam

1-minute paper

Midterm exam

Homework or classwork

Final project or paper

Infographics, charts, diagrams


Summary or bullet pts of reading or lecture

Certification Exams

Talking or Discussion


Reflective Activities


Socratic seminar




Peer feedback/review