Formative assessment and feedback


Formative assessment can support meaningful learning by providing opportunities for students to:

  • make sense of criteria;
  • practice assessment skills/knowledge or entire assignments;
  • receive and generate feedback on progression towards specific summative assessment tasks;
  • engage with content and/or develop skills needed to achieve learning outcomes;
  • receive and generate feedback on general learning progression;
  • create and experiment in a low stakes environment;
  • foster a sense of scholarly identity.

The following distinction can be made between formative and summative assessment:

  • Formative assessment: a formative task/assessment is one which is developmental for students’ learning but does not contribute to credit points. We could call this assessment for learning.
  • Summative assessment: assessment which results in or contributes to final grade (and feedback) which reflects the standard of achievement of the student work against intended learning outcomes. We could call this assessment of learning.

This resource produced by Notting Trent University Centre for Academic Development and Quality focuses on formative assessment, characterised by Pryor and Croussouard as a set of practices which ‘…sits at the intersection of teaching, learning and assessment and is produced by both teachers and learners’ (2010, p.271).

Excerpt from [accessed 5th February 2015].


Pryor J., & Croussouard B.2010. Challenging formative assessment: disciplinary spaces and identities. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(3), 265-276.

Comments are closed.