Module 3a: Informal and Formal Assessments

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So there’s such thing as informal and formal even when we are talking about assessments. Prior to reading this module’s resources, I thought that assessment can only be classified as formative or summative, as I learned from the previous modules. I then realized, once again, that this principle/practice can further be classified as formal or informal.

From what I have understood, formal assessment entails standardized tests usually rendered at the end of a unit, grading period, or class. Objective tests, usually multiple choice and essay type, serve this purpose. Informal Assessment, on the other hand, is those assessment practices which are done to gauge student performance at any point in time during the course. Examples of which are portfolios, journals, worksheets, and role plays, among others. Even the mere asking of questions to students can serve as an informal assessment to know if the students understand the lesson or if there are concepts that are unclear to them.

Compared to summative and formative assessments, which are focused more on the data gathered during the process – the interpretation of such to gauge understanding and student achievement, I think that formal and informal assessments, as categories, focus more on the method of obtaining data. I mean, when one is asked about the difference between the two, one would likely give examples of assessment methods that belong to each category, e.g. standardized exams for formal and portfolios for informal.

I still have to learn a lot as to the categories or classifications under assessment but so far, I am enjoying and appreciating the learning that I experience as a DE student of this course. Assessment, indeed, needs to have an in-depth study and careful implementation to serve its purpose.

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