Assessment which is designed to provide feedback to the learner in order that they may improve their performance. In this sense it helps to ‘form’ the learner. Its very purpose demands that formative assessment be part of the learning process rather than a terminal assessment event which takes place at the end of the course of study. Continuous assessment, for example through assignment work, is formative, as are week‐by‐week teacher assessments of class work and homework. The key feature of effective formative assessment is that it provides the learner with clear constructive feedback. The distinction between formative and summative, or end, assessment was pointed out by Scriven in 1967. See also Assessment for Learning.
M. Scriven ‘The Methodology of Evaluation’ in R. W. Tyler, R. M. Gagné, and M. Scriven (eds) Perspectives of Curriculum Evaluation (Rand McNally, 1967).