Difference Between Formal Assessment vs. Informal Assessment

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Primary Difference

As a student, there are many times when a person has to complete different assignments which are then assessed by their teacher and marks are given according to the performance. Same is the case with exams when a person answers different questions and then the assessment is made on the work he has done and then grades are given according to a specific criterion. This is a normal practice as the lower levels such as primary and high school but as the studies become complex the type of assessment tend to change as well especially at the university level where there are different types of ways to judge the performance of a student and then the performance of the person who has graded the student. Two main types of assessments are known as Formal Assessment and Informal Assessment and both are different from each other vastly. The difference will be discussed in this space to give a clearer idea of what they are. The main difference between these two types of assessment is that an informal one is a type in which there are no requirements of particular grading under the guidelines of the institute. For example, there are many activities that student do in the class and also appear in tests and other groups undertakings which are marked by the teacher but they are not always counted towards the final grade of the student and even if it, there is particular percentage which is added on basis of several activities throughout the academic year. A formal assessment, on the other hand, is the one in which there is a proper criterion set by the teacher or the institute in order to judge the caliber of a student based on particular instructions and questions given in the assessment. In this, a person is checked according to a wider set of rules and with other students on an equal level. In short, informal assessment there is no comparison between different students and they are graded according to their own performance while in a formal assessment students are compared on the basis of marks they obtain. There are no standards in an informal assessment while many standards are present when it comes to formal assessment in the form of exams and presentations on a broader scale. There are other ways of showing the difference as well but a brief explanation of both these types will be given in the next two paragraphs while differences, in a nutshell, will be given at the end of this article to clarify how they differ.

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Comparison Chart

Formal AssessmentInformal Assessment
AimConducted when there is a proper criterion set by the teacher or the institute in order to judge the caliber of a student based on particular instructions and questions given in the assessment.Type in which there are no requirements of particular grading under the guidelines of the institute.
FunctionStudents are compared according to a set of rules and criteriaThere are no particular rules to judge a student in an informal assessment.
ComparisonPeople are compared on an individual level.Can be judged on individual or group basis depending on the type of activity.
AnxietyThere can be anxiety factor involved.No such tension involved.

Definition of Formal Assessment

This is the type of assessment which is conducted when there is a proper criterion set by the teacher or the institute in order to judge the caliber of a student based on particular instructions and questions given in the assessment. In this, a person is checked according to a wider set of rules and with other students on an equal level. This can be in the form of exams of tests which are conducted on a regular basis under the regulations of the university or institute. The mode of tests, in this case, is through multiple choice questions or short questions while the scores which are obtained from the student are compared and a result is obtained where people are ranked according to the marks they get. Every person is tested on their level and there is no group activity involved to make sure everyone gets a fair assessment. This is a standard practice where scores are important and in the end contribute towards getting grades enough to enter the practical life for working.

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Definition of Informal Assessment

An informal assessment is a type in which there are no requirements of particular grading under the guidelines of the institute. For example, there are many activities that student do in the class and also appear in tests and other groups undertakings which are marked by the teacher but they are not always counted towards the final grade of the student and even if it, there is particular percentage which is added on basis of several activities throughout the academic year. Teachers are responsible for conducting these activities which can be reports, case studies, and even experiments which help in giving students valuable experience and learning without the factor of anxiety and they can perform better under circumstances when they do not have the pressure of getting marks to secure a position. This practice is gaining more and more popularity over the world.

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Differences in a Nutshell

  1. Students are compared according to a set of rules and criteria set in a formal assessment while there are not particular rules to judge a student in an informal assessment.
  2. There are set of rules applied by the university or the institute which apply to everyone in a formal assessment while the rules applied in an informal assessment are by the teacher and can differ from student to student.
  3. People are compared on an individual level in a formal assessment while they can be judged on individual or group basis depending on the type of activity.
  4. There is no score comparison done in an informal assessment while scores are compared from student to student in a formal assessment.
  5. There can be anxiety factor involved during a formal assessment while there is no such tension involved in an informal assessment.
  6. The form of formal assessment can be short questions or multiple choice questions while the mode of assessment in an informal process is trough samples, reports or experiments.

Comparison Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHn-1BSwBRA

Conclusion

In a nutshell, this article details the main difference between the two terms of Formal Assessment and Informal Assessment. There are many terms relating to these and therefore can become utmost important. It will help individuals in developing a clear understanding of the topics and get first-hand knowledge about the definition and the scope of it.