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Distance Education

Formative Assessments

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Distance Education

Wayne Hall
6th Floor
125 W. Rosedale Ave.
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2948
Fax: 610-436-2189

Distance Education Support
Phone: 610-436-3373

Formative Assessments



Formative assessment is the process of formal and informal evaluation conducted during the learning process in order to modify the instructional process to improve student achievement. Feedback given as part of formative assessment also helps students become aware of any gaps that exists between their desired goal and their current skill, and guides them through actions required for successful learning. There are many activities for formative assessment, including informal quizzes, homework, in class discussions, writing prompts and others. There are varieties of formative assessment tools available that assist in the evaluating mastery of course material and providing effective feedback.  


Instructional Uses:

  • Informal quizzes/self-assessments 
  • Discussions 
  • Think-Pair – Share
  • Class Polling Activities 
  • Rubrics 
  • Portfolios 
  • Pre and Post testing 
  • Project Based learning  
  • Simulations 

WCU Supported Tools:


Additional Tools:

Tips for using Formative Assessments:

  • Focus formative assessments less on responses and more on performance and application of learning into realistic situations. 
  • Structure assessments that will empower students to be self-regulated learners and allow them to apply feedback to their learning. 
  • Student Response Systems offer a flexible tool for teaching as they can be used with a variety of questions, student groups and academic settings. They also create an active learning environment with a peripheral or central role during the class.  


Boston, C. (n.d.). The Concept of Formative Assessment. Retrieved from 

Buzzetto-More, and Alade, A.J. (2006). Best Practices in e-Assessment. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 251-269. Informing Science Institute. 

Caldwell, J. E. (2007). Clickers in the Large Classroom: Current Research and Best-Practice Tips. CBE—Life Sciences Education,6(1), 9-20. doi:10.1187/cbe.06-12-0205 

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