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Slang Dictionary: Formative Assessment

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What Is "Formative Assessment"

When it comes to educational terminology, “formative assessment” might not strike you as slang, but it’s a phrase that’s often used in educational contexts. In this slang dictionary entry, we’ll dive into its meaning, related words, origins, users, examples, and how to use it appropriately in academic writing.

What Is “Formative Assessment”?

“Formative assessment” is a term used in education to describe an ongoing process of evaluating students’ understanding and learning progress during a lesson, unit, or course. Unlike summative assessment, which typically occurs at the end of a period, formative assessment aims to provide feedback to both teachers and students while learning is still in progress. It helps educators adjust their teaching strategies and students to improve their understanding.

Related Terms

Here are some related terms often associated with “formative assessment” in the field of education:

  • Summative Assessment: An evaluation that takes place at the end of a learning period to measure overall achievement.
  • Diagnostic Assessment: An assessment used to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses at the beginning of instruction.
  • Feedback: Information provided to students about their performance to guide improvement.

Where Does This Term Come From?

The term “formative assessment” has its roots in educational theory and practice. It emerged as educators recognized the value of continuous feedback in promoting student learning and achievement. The concept has evolved over time, becoming a fundamental component of modern teaching and learning strategies.

Who Uses This Term?

“Formative assessment” is a term commonly used by educators, instructional designers, and researchers in the field of education. It plays a crucial role in discussions and practices related to improving teaching and learning outcomes.

Examples of Using This Term

Here are a couple of examples demonstrating how “formative assessment” can be used in sentences:

“Teachers use formative assessment techniques such as quizzes and class discussions to gauge students’ understanding in real-time.”

“Formative assessment provides valuable insights into student progress, allowing instructors to tailor their instruction accordingly.”

What to Replace This Term within Academic Writing

In formal academic writing, use “ongoing assessment” or “continuous assessment” to replace “formative assessment” if you wish to avoid using the slang term. These alternatives maintain clarity and professionalism in scholarly work.

Quote of the Day

“Formative assessment is the compass that guides both teachers and students on the path to meaningful learning.” – Dr. Educator


Now that you’ve explored the concept of “formative assessment,” you understand its pivotal role in education. This ongoing evaluation process empowers both teachers and students to enhance learning, making it an invaluable tool in the realm of education.