Module 3A Commentary: Can Formal Assessment Be Formative?

Module 3A. Formal and Informal Assessments


“At my school, results from national examinations are used to make revisions in teaching. Since the tests are administered in the first trimester of the year and results come mid-year, there is plenty of time left to enhance the objectives and syllabi with topics from the “weak spots” revealed by the exam results. 

In this case, would we be able to say that this standardized test is a formative assessment?”

 – by Gaille Marie Olivia Ramos – Friday, 26 June 2015, 2:09 AM

After going over the readings, I gathered that:

  • All standardized tests are formal assessments, but not all formal assessments are standardized tests.
  • Formal assessments like standardized tests can be formative or summative depending on how the assessment data is interpreted. If data is used to inform or guide instruction, then it can qualify as formative; if data is used to evaluate students’ competency, rank or standing, then it is summative.

Let me share my answer to Gaille’s question.

Hi Gaille! If your national examinations (standardized tests) are used to refine teaching tools and methods, then they can be considered as formal-formative assessments. If any type of assessment (whether formal or informal, whether traditional or authentic) is used in a formative way, that is, to improve instruction, then yes, it is categorized as FORMATIVE. I hope I didn’t confuse you Gaille 🙂


EDS 113 Module 3A: Formal and Informal Assessments. Retrieved from

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