• Edsembli Products

  • Resources

10 benefits of formative assessments

It’s long been understood that the American school system is in dire need of essential changes to help improve the quality of the education that we provide to our students, especially since students’ performance has been stagnating over the past two decades. 

From shifts to more modern teaching methods and the implementation of helpful new technologies and systems that can support enhanced remote and hybrid learning endeavors, many efforts are currently being made to better our education methods within the country.

Part of this shift has also involved the increased use of formative assessments within the classroom. According to research, formative assessments can serve as valuable tools within the education process and provide risk-free, highly effective environments that promote enhanced levels of student learning and experimentation. 

Read on to learn more about the top ten benefits that formative assessments can provide when used effectively within the realm of education.

Formative vs. Summative Assessments: The Differences

As an educator, you may be curious about the differences between formative and summative assessments in the classroom. 

Simply put, formative assessments are designed to help monitor student learning and progress while providing helpful feedback to educators so they can determine how students are moving forward. 

In contrast, summative assessments evaluate student learning after a class unit by comparing their abilities and understanding to a specified benchmark or standard.  


Why Are Formative Assessments Important?

If designed correctly, formative assessments can allow educators to identify and address the strengths and weaknesses of their students. This tactic enables teachers to provide timely and effective feedback and change their approach to help ensure that each child is better able to learn and comprehend all of the necessary class material. 

Related: The Value of Formative Assessment in Education: A Brief Overview


10 Benefits of Formative Assessments

There are many benefits that formative assessments can provide both educators and students alike. However, ten specific benefits have shown themselves to be some of the most essential.

Defines Learning Goals

Keeping a close eye on student progress helps ensure that students move towards defined learning goals and allows teachers to intervene and clear up any issues before students get off track.

Personalize Learning Experiences

Analysis of formative assessment data allows educators to examine and adjust their instructional methods to ensure they’re consistently producing the desired results with their students through a personalized learning experience. This is especially helpful with larger class sizes since what works for some students won’t work for others.

Increases Rigor

Formative assessment data can help teachers better determine the needs of their students. With that information, educators can create a more rigorous learning environment that will challenge students to grow and help them become successful.

Data-Driven Decisions

Data gathered from formative assessment helps teachers make more sound, informed decisions regarding their approach to class material. These data-driven decisions can help ensure enhanced student success. 

Focused and Targeted Feedback

Formative assessments allow teachers to use focused and highly targeted feedback to help their students improve and ensure that knowledge gaps are being filled effectively. It also helps create a more reciprocal learning process between educators and students. 

Related: K-12 Assessment Strategies: An Overview of the Top Marking Strategies

Increases Student Engagement

Student engagement is a critical element of any effective classroom activity, and formative assessments can help facilitate increased levels of such engagement. Connecting learning objectives to real-world situations and problems also helps feed students’ natural curiosity. 

Self-Regulated Learners

Students need to gain the ability to monitor and take responsibility for meeting their educational goals, which allows them to become self-regulated learners. Formative assessments provide an opportunity for students to review and correct their work, allowing them to build their independence and become more autonomous thinkers. 

Improved Academic Achievement

Students can utilize the feedback provided by formative assessments to help them progress towards their educational goals, enhance their academic achievement, and bridge any gaps between their current knowledge and what they need to know to move forward. 

Enhanced Student Motivation

Formative assessment involves setting learning goals and measuring student progress, enhancing their motivation to move forward within the academic world. When students focus and understand the goals they’re aiming for; their performance can improve dramatically.

Address Learning Gaps 

Formative assessments can identify student learning gaps and allow educators to develop comprehensive plans to fill said gaps going forward, ensuring a more thorough mastery of the academic material by their students.


Examples of Formative Assessments 

There are several types of formative assessments that teachers can utilize to get a better sense of the weaknesses and strengths of their students. Some of the most commonly used assessments include: 

3–2–1 Countdown

This assessment involves having students respond to three separate questions or statements to help them think about what they’ve learned in new, meaningful ways. These include;

  • Write three things you didn’t know before.
  • Write two things that surprised you about the topic.
  • Write one thing you want to do with what you’ve learned. 

Classroom Polls

Polls can be an excellent assessment that allows students to respond quickly while assessing their accuracy. Solent poles are especially helpful for more “shy” students who don’t like talking in front of the class.

One-Minute Papers

This can be a great end-of-the-day assessment that helps students reflect on what they’ve learned by answering a question in the form of a short essay. Typically questions for these papers should center around;

  • The main point of a topic
  • A surprising concept
  • Questions the students still have
  • The most confusing areas of the topic covered
  • What questions from the topic might appear on the next test, quiz, or major assignment

Extension Projects

These assessments can be a great way to expand on the scope of an educational unit and help solidify the information that students learn. Some examples of these projects can include;

  • Creating posters that illustrate the subject
  • Letting students make their own flashcards to test each other
  • Building dioramas about the subject

Strategic Questioning

Asking strategic, higher-order questions about a topic (like “why” and “how”) provides students with a chance to think more in-depth about a topic and also gives teachers a better way to discern the extent of their students’ understanding.  

Related: Why the Voice of the Student Is Key to Better Educational Outcomes


Navigate the Complexities of Education With Edsembli

Does your school or district need help establishing a better, more effective remote or hybrid-learning environment for students and educators? 

Edsembli offers schools and districts access to a range of top-quality, expertly crafted resources through an education-focused ecosystem designed to unify essential systems in education.

Are you looking to create a more effective learning environment for your students? Book a demo today to get started!

Book your demo with an Edsembli education specialist today

Building an ecosystem for education