Assessment ‘for‘ vs. Assessment ‘of’ Learning

There are many things that you will assess over the course of your semester–you may assess GLOs or PLOs, you will have CLOs to measure, and you will likely assess participation and other discipline-specific parameters.  At UMPI we have a made a commitment to students that we will have transparency in how and when their learning will be assessed.

What are assessments?

  • Explicit processes that provide information on student progress
  • Opportunities for teachers to respond to assessment information and adjust teaching
  • Opportunities for students to seek and act on feedback to make improvements

We place a large focus on formative assessment or ‘assessment for learning.’ We support the philosophy that students should be given opportunities to try new things and to build skills without the fear of one poor assessment leaving them ‘hanging in the balance.’  We want our students to take risks and to be rewarded for the journey as well as the final product.


Getting familiar with assessment types:

Assessment for Learning (Formative Assessment):

In this type of assessment, the focus is on providing specific, actionable feedback to the student so that he/she can make improvements. 

This type of assessment may come in the form of:

  •  checking for understanding (thumbs up/down or exit tickets
  • instructor observations
  • feedback from low-stakes practice activities

Assessment of Learning (Summative Assessment):

In this type of assessment, the focus is on measuring student progress and achievement.  Feedback is provided on how well the student performed on a particular skill or set of skills.  This type of assessment is often used for grading purposes.

Examples of this type of assessment are:

  • Unit or concept performative assessment, term paper or project
  • Quiz or exam