No Image Available

Seb Anthony

Read more from Seb Anthony

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

assessment and evaluation


First time I have used this as a form of information seeking so do me proud! I would like to get people's ideas and views on the following.

What methods do you use for Summative Assessment?
Formative Assessment?
Summative Evaluation?
Formative Evaluation?

Also in terms of validity, Reliability, Currency and Sufficiency.

Ben Hardman

6 Responses

  1. Blimey!
    I dug this out of some old trainer notes:

    Formative assessment is where the primary use of the results of assessing is to feedback to the trainee to aid the learning and to change the course, if required, as a result of the assessments. Summative assessment uses the results for some external purpose such as deciding whether the trainee is re-coursed or ‘chopped’.

    For summative assessment we’re really talking about techniques such as tests – multi-choice objective questions, short (written) questions & answers, observing somebody carry out a task, and also observing attitude in the behaviour of people.

    These can also be used in formativeassessments – the results are used for example to help the trainee develop as opposed to being de/selected for a job or passed/failed.

    Evaluation is arguably concerned with the effectiveness and efficiency or value the training brings. Summative would I guess be focused on the product of the training while formative would be focused on the process of training.

    I’m sure there will be a host of varied perspective given here, so I’m looking forward to an interesting thread here!

    In respect of validity, reliability etc:

    Valid – does the assessment measure what it purports to measure (face validity) and is it self consistent (construct validity) – this last aspect usually involves statistical methods of the type used in building psychometric tools.

    Reliable – does the assessment produce the same results when it is applied several times under the same conditions?

    As for sufficiency and curency, any takers?

    I’d hazard a guess: currency – is the assessment recent enough (to training and/or operation) to be credible?

    Sufficiency – does the assessment cover enough of the scope of the subject to be a reasonable measure of what ever it is we are measuring – competence/knowledge/attitide?

  2. Assessment
    I suggest you look at the QCA’s website ( and your Sector Skills Council, as they should give you information about assessment strategies and the terminology associated with them.

    Key points associated with any form of assessment are;
    The standard the candidate is assessed against (eg National Occupational Standards), the method of collecting the evidence (opportunity of the candidate to demonstrate their competence), the competence of the assessor in interpreting the evidence and the method of delivering the feedback to the candidate.
    In short assessment is about the candidate and their level of learning.

    Evaluation is more focused on how that candidate takes that learning into the workplace and improves their performance and from that the performance of the business. Evaluation should be “owned”, though not necessarily conducted, by the business. With this in mind it should consider many other issues than just the impact of the training but also systems and process issues.

    Don Oldcorn

  3. Assessment and Evaluation
    Whether you are doing formative or summative assessment, you can use either criterion-referenced or normative-referenced assessment. That is, competency-based or by one of the types of test (multiple choice, written essay, select options etc)where an individual’s attainment is measured against a group of other learners.

    You should, in any case, use the combination of assessment methods that will provide you with the information you need ie, did the learners learn what was intended?

    Formative or intermediate assessment is used during an instructional event to provide feedback to learners about progress. You can provide the feedback and NOT use the results to determine whether learners are competent or not yet competent (pass/fail) or you can aggregate intermediate assessment results to determine your final result.

    When I’ve used it, it’s most often been to provide feedback without affecting the final summative result.

    There are dozens of different models for evaluation. I prefer and use Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels which I have found economical and suitable for industry/government training.

    Validity and reliability, currency and sufficiency are essential considerations if your assessment and evaluation are to provide you with the accurate results you require.

    There are numbers of excellent texts on assessment and evaluation (including Kirkpatrick’s) and I’m sure if you enter some of these terms in Google you’ll be inundated with information to keep you going for a week or two.

  4. assessment
    Thanks for this info guys it will be very helpful. Its interesting to see the view points of others and it good to know there are simularities.

    Do people use both summative and formative assessment methods at the same time or would you consider the topic being trained and the method of training?

  5. Assessment and evaluation

    I’m assuming that you are thinking of NVQs or competencies looking at the question. The concepts are however transferable to pretty much anything to do with performance.

    Summative Assessment can be any kind of test at the end of the learning event

    Formative Assessment takes place throughout the learning event and is usually based upon what the Assessor sees and hears. It does not usually include a test BUT it can.

    Ipsative Assessment is another form which simply means self-referenced. It is not to any external standard. An example would be where you simply look for an improvement in student performance over a given period of time rather than something that is either pass/fail or competent/not yet competent.

    Summative Evaluation depends on what you mean by evaluation. I’m assuming (possibly wrongly) that you are thinking of Kirkpatrick or one of the other models. Most of them span Evaluation during the training event e.g. Levels 1 and possibly 2 of Kirkpatrick (Formative Evaluation) and Evaluation after the training event e.g. Levels 3 and 4 of Kirkpatrick (Summative Evaluation).

    Validity simply means does it actually do what it says on the tin and there are different kinds of validity which if you are into research are worth looking at.

    Reliability means can it be repeated with similar results, in other works does it work?

    If it’s Valid it must already be Reliable but if it’s Reliable it doesn’t have to already be Valid.

    Currency simply looks at how recent it is and as a rule of thumb it’s current if it’s less than a year old and acceptable if it’s less than two years old.

    Sufficiency means has it occurred often enough to demonstrate that it is the student’s actual level of competence rather than a one off spark of brilliance? Here the required number of times that it has to have occurred is usually at least twice and preferably three times with several days if not weeks between each.

    Hope this helps.

    All the best

    Alex Paterson

  6. Formative and Summative at the same time.

    Sorry, I’ve just read your last entry.

    Yes you can use both during the same learning event BUT (I’m being pedantic now) the formative assessment is what happens during the event and the summative assessment is the ‘test’ at the end.

    You could apply Formative and Summative assessment to a single lesson or to a 3 year learning programme. It is simply a matter of degree.

    Trainers and teachers tend too differentiate between Formative and Summative Assessment because they seek to do different things.

    Formative Assessment tracks the learning during the event and is used to check that everyone is up to scratch.

    Summative Assessment is where learning is tested at the end of the learning event.

    The reality is that if you are training you are always assessing formatively, even if it is in an informal way.

    The bottom line is that Formative and Summative simply mean DURING and AFTER.

    Hope this makes sense.

    All the best

    Alex Paterson


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!