Formal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment: What Is the Difference Between Formal and Informal Assessment?

Do you believe in informal assessment or formal assessment? Is one more effective than the other? In this article, we will go over the main differences between the two and share pros and cons
Formal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment: 6 Key Differences, Pros & Cons, Examples

Assessments are an important part of any educational program. It helps the teachers and mentors to check out their student’s performance. So they can make better decisions for those. Assessment is classified into two main categories: formal assessment and informal assessment. Suppose we compare informal assessment Vs. formal assessment both have different testing ways and criteria. Formal assessment is a way teachers can check students’ performance, while informal assessment tells about student performance through different activities.

Let’s take a closer look at Formal vs. Informal Assessment

Educational Role   Both of these assessment plays an essential role in any educational job
NatureThe nature of formal assessment is standardized, but informal assessment doesn’t have this nature.
Standardized ToolsStandardized tools are only used during the formal assessment to check the progress of a student
Used ForFormal assessment is used to evaluate performance, while informal assessment determines learning skills.

What Is Formal Assessment?

What Is Formal Assessment? Formal assessment is basically a way through which teachers can find out about the student's advancement, whether that has been increasing or decreasing during a selective period. In this type of assessment, standardized methods of testing are used. They also used a formal grading method, allowing teachers to check students' performance in detail. For example, there are some exercises at the end of every lesson in textbooks. The primary purpose of those exercises is to assess whether the student has learned the concept present in the lesson and whether the students can solve all the problems easily.

Formal assessment is basically a way through which teachers can find out about the student’s advancement, whether that has been increasing or decreasing during a selective period. In this type of assessment, standardized methods of testing are used. They also used a formal grading method, allowing teachers to check students’ performance in detail. For example, there are some exercises at the end of every lesson in textbooks. The primary purpose of those exercises is to assess whether the student has learned the concept present in the lesson and whether the students can solve all the problems easily.

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Formal Assessment Examples

Some examples of formal assessment are:

  • Exams, 
  • Screening,
  • Diagnostic,
  • Intelligence tests,
  • and many others.

What Is Informal Assessment?

What Is Informal Assessment? Informal assessment is the type of assessment in which the performance and practical skills of the learners are assessed without using any standardized tests and scoring patterns. In this type of assessment, you won't find any standardized tool to check students' performance. In this assessment, different kinds of presentations, projects, and experiments are created for the students, whether in the classroom or on any other platform. Some teachers also use debate and oral presentation as informal assessment tools. Some also consider debating and peer teaching as examples of informal assessments. Another way is to make a presentation or ask some question that a student has to answer in front of the whole class.

Informal assessment is the type of assessment in which the performance and practical skills of the learners are assessed without using any standardized tests and scoring patterns. In this type of assessment, you won’t find any standardized tool to check students’ performance. In this assessment, different kinds of presentations, projects, and experiments are created for the students, whether in the classroom or on any other platform. Some teachers also use debate and oral presentation as informal assessment tools. Some also consider debating and peer teaching as examples of informal assessments. Another way is to make a presentation or ask some question that a student has to answer in front of the whole class.

Informal Assessment Examples

  • Presentations,
  • Projects,
  • Experiments,
  • Debates,
  • Peer teaching,
  • and others.

6 Key Differences Between Formal and Informal Assessment

ComponentsFormal AssessmentInformal Assessment
DefinitionIt is a way to judge the student’s performance with the help of standardized tools and tests.It is the type of assessment that doesn’t use standardized tools but checks the student’s performance through observation.
TypesThere are two major types of formal assessment: norm-referenced assessments and criterion-referenced tests.Common types of informal assessments are Quizzes, writing samples, and assignments.
ScopeA formal assessment can provide a broad view of a student’s knowledgeInformal assessment allows the instructor to go through the analysis of the experience of individual student
FlexibilityWell-defined criteria are used in formal assessment, and the instructor cannot deviate from the grading system.The instructor can adjust informal assessments according to the needs of students.
Score ComparisonThe instructor compares the student’s performance or score in the same class in a formal assessment.The instructor compares the student’s performance with his past ones in formal assessment.
PurposeThe main purpose of formal assessment is to know about students’ academic progress.Informal assessment is used to determine the student’s progress and skill level.

Formal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment Similarities

  • Both formal and informal assessments provide an opportunity for the instructor to give feedback about the student’s performance.
  • Both of these assessments are part of an educational job to evaluate how many students learn, their skills, and their development.
  • The teacher uses formal and informal assessments to improve their instructional methods.
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Informal vs. Formal Assessment Examples

Formal Assessments Examples

  • Test
  • Quizzes
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaire

Informal Assessment Examples

  •  Exit Surveys
  • Observation
  • Oral presentation

Formal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment Pros and Cons

Formal Assessment Pros and Cons

Formal Assessment Pros and Cons

Pros of Formal Assessment

  • Formal assessment motivates the student to perform better and work hard so that they can get higher grades.
  • Formal assessments have proper criteria for the evaluation of the students, which have to be followed by the instructor.

Cons of Formal Assessment

  • Formal assessment is just a game of luck sometimes. A student can achieve good marks if the question selection is easy.
  • Formal assessment is just a one-off test without giving room to students to make mistakes and learn from them.

Informal Assessment Pros and Cons

Informal Assessment Pros and Cons

Pros of Informal Assessment

  • The informal assessment provides a better picture of student abilities, through which the instructor can evaluate his performance well.
  • The informal assessment gives more room for a student to improve if we compare informal vs. Formal assessment.

Cons of Informal Assessment

  • In informal assessments, it depends upon the instructor how much to rate the students and what type of feedback should be given.
  • Since there are no specific criteria for evaluating students in informal assessment, evaluating students’ progress over time can be challenging.

Comparison Chart

Do you believe in informal assessment or formal assessment? Is one more effective than the other? In this article, we will go over the main differences between the two and share pros and cons

Comparison Video

Formal vs Informal Assessment & Examples

Formal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment FAQs

Why Are Formal and Informal Assessments Important?

Formal and informal assessments are very important to evaluate the progress and learning skills of the students.

Is Authentic Assessment Formal or Informal?

In authentic assessment, students are asked to perform tasks related to the real world to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, which is more similar to informal assessment.

What Is the Main Purpose of Informal Assessments?

The main purpose of informal assessment is to determine the progress and skill level of the individual.

How Are Formal and Informal Assessments Similar?

Both of these assessments are part of the educational job and provide an opportunity for the instructor to evaluate students’ performance.

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Conclusion

Formal and informal assessments are both an essential part of the learning phase. Both types of assessment can be used to evaluate the progress of students. But the main difference between formal and informal assessments is due to the way they evaluate. The formal assessment uses standardized tools to check student performances, while in informal assessment the instructor takes live presentations and surveys. Both types of assessment have different tools, criteria, scope, and purposes; when combined, they can provide many benefits for both teachers and students as these can motivate students and help the teacher to get students’ progress information.

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