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Formal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Formal assessments are structured and standardized, while informal assessments are flexible and observational.
Formal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment

Key Differences

Formal Assessment involves structured testing, often with standardized tools, to evaluate learning in a quantifiable way. Informal Assessment, conversely, uses unstructured methods like observations and discussions to gauge understanding.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 17, 2023
Formal Assessment typically includes exams and quizzes with predetermined criteria, allowing for systematic evaluation. Informal Assessment, on the other hand, might involve impromptu questioning or review of classwork, focusing on qualitative insights.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 17, 2023
In Formal Assessment, results are often used for official records and grading. Informal Assessment, however, is more about ongoing feedback and less about grading.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 17, 2023
Formal Assessment usually occurs at specific points, like midterms or finals. Informal Assessment can happen at any time, providing continuous learning insights.
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Formal Assessment often requires extensive preparation and is usually high stakes. Informal Assessment is more spontaneous, providing immediate feedback with lower stress.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Comparison Chart

Structure

Structured and standardized
Flexible and observational
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Shumaila Saeed
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Evaluation Type

Quantitative measurement
Qualitative insights
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Nov 17, 2023

Purpose

Official records and grading
Ongoing feedback and adjustment
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Timing

At specific intervals
Continuous and spontaneous
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Preparation and Stakes

Requires preparation, high stakes
Spontaneous, lower stress
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Formal Assessment and Informal Assessment Definitions

Formal Assessment

Formal Assessment usually has fixed criteria for evaluation.
The essay's grading rubric was a key part of the Formal Assessment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Informal Assessment

Informal Assessment is an unstructured approach to gauge learning.
Through daily discussions, an Informal Assessment of student comprehension was conducted.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Formal Assessment

Formal Assessment is a structured method of evaluating student learning.
The final exam, a Formal Assessment, counted for 40% of the course grade.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Informal Assessment

Informal Assessment is used for continuous learning adjustment.
Weekly quizzes were part of an Informal Assessment to adapt teaching methods.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Formal Assessment

Formal Assessment results are typically recorded and used for grading.
Her excellent performance in the Formal Assessment boosted her overall grade.
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Nov 10, 2023
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Informal Assessment

Informal Assessment can be spontaneous and flexible.
Impromptu questions during the lesson acted as an Informal Assessment of understanding.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Formal Assessment

Formal Assessment often uses standardized tests.
The state-wide math test is a Formal Assessment used to measure student proficiency.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Informal Assessment

Informal Assessment often involves observations and feedback.
The teacher's ongoing observations served as an Informal Assessment of class participation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Formal Assessment

Formal Assessment occurs at predetermined times.
Midterm exams are a type of Formal Assessment to evaluate mid-semester progress.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Informal Assessment

Informal Assessment focuses on qualitative insights rather than grades.
The project's group discussions were an Informal Assessment of teamwork skills.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can Informal Assessment be used for grading?

Informal Assessment is typically not used for formal grading, but for continuous feedback.
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Nov 17, 2023

How is Informal Assessment integrated into daily teaching?

Informal Assessment is integrated through activities like class discussions and observations.
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Shumaila Saeed
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What is the main goal of Formal Assessment?

The main goal of Formal Assessment is to systematically evaluate and grade learning.
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Are standardized tests a type of Formal Assessment?

Yes, standardized tests are a common form of Formal Assessment.
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Are essays a type of Formal Assessment?

Essays can be a type of Formal Assessment when used with structured rubrics and grading.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Does Formal Assessment require specific preparation?

Yes, Formal Assessment often requires specific preparation by both teachers and students.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Is Informal Assessment suitable for all age groups?

Yes, Informal Assessment can be adapted for any age group and learning environment.
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How often is Informal Assessment conducted?

Informal Assessment can be conducted frequently, even daily, as part of regular teaching.
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Can Informal Assessment improve student-teacher relationships?

Yes, the interactive nature of Informal Assessment can enhance student-teacher relationships.
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Are oral presentations a form of Formal Assessment?

Oral presentations can be a form of Formal Assessment if they have structured criteria.
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How does Formal Assessment impact student stress levels?

Formal Assessment can be high-stress due to its structured nature and impact on grades.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Can Informal Assessment be used to modify teaching strategies?

Yes, Informal Assessment is valuable for adapting and improving teaching strategies.
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Is peer review an example of Informal Assessment?

Yes, peer review can be used as a method of Informal Assessment.
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Is Formal Assessment more objective than Informal Assessment?

Formal Assessment is generally more objective due to its standardized nature.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Does Formal Assessment always involve written tests?

While often involving written tests, Formal Assessment can also include other structured formats.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 17, 2023

Can Informal Assessment guide curriculum development?

Yes, insights from Informal Assessment can inform and shape curriculum development.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Can Formal Assessment results be used for academic placement?

Yes, Formal Assessment results are often used for decisions like academic placement.
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Is Formal Assessment limited to academic subjects?

Formal Assessment is most common in academic subjects but can be used in other areas.
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Shumaila Saeed
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How does Informal Assessment support individualized learning?

Informal Assessment allows teachers to tailor instruction to individual student needs.
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How does Informal Assessment benefit diverse learners?

Informal Assessment's flexibility allows it to cater to diverse learning styles and needs.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 17, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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