Purposes of Assessment



 Purposes of Assessment

There are three major purposes of Assessment:

Assessment FOR learning is an ongoing process that monitors student learning in order to help teachers improve their teaching and students to improve their learning. It continuously informs instruction and helps students manage their own learning. The assessment information is used to determine the next teaching steps and learning steps to continuously improve the teaching-learning process. Formative assessments serve the purpose of assessment FOR learning.


  • concept maps
  • progress/monitoring reports
  • checklists/surveys
  • interviews
  • observations
  • anecdotal records
  • research proposal (for feedback)
  • quizzes
  • home works
  • worksheets
  • performance tasks
  • essays
  • observations
  • questioning strategies
  • projects
  • graphic organizers
  • self-assessments/ peer assessment
  • collaborative activities
  • portfolios (collection of student work)
  • Assessment AS learning is also an ongoing process that helps students to self-reflect, monitor their own learning, and adjust their learning strategies in order to achieve their goals and become more self-directed, metacognitive, independent, successful learners. Formative assessments also serve the purpose of assessment AS learning.


  • journals
  • self-assessment
  • peer-assessment
  • personal learning logs

Assessment OF learning measures what and how well the students have learned at the end of instruction. It certifies learning and measures students’ overall achievement/proficiency. It determines whether learning goals and outcomes have been achieved. Summative assessments serve the purpose of assessment OF learning.


  • final performance tasks
  • final papers/written outputs
  • final oral presentations
  • standardized tests
  • end of unit tests or projects
  • recitals
  • long exams
  • periodical tests
  • final exams




Earl, L. & Katz, S. (2006). Section 2: Three purposes of assessment. [PDF] In rethinking classroom assessment with purpose in mind. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/assess/wncp/section2.pdf

IOWA Department of Education. (2015). Assessment for learning (formative assessment). Retrieved from https://www.educateiowa.gov/pk-12/student-assessment/assessment-learning-formative-assessment

Victoria Department of Education and Training. (2013). Assessment of professional learning. Retrieved from  http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/support/Pages/prep10proflearn.aspx