Formative assessment usually assesses a student’s performance during the teaching period. It provides information to the student on their progress and also to the lecturer about the student’s/class’ understanding of the material covered. It does not necessarily have a grade attached, although it can. This grade may, or may not count towards the student’s final grade for the course although if it does, it is often low stakes and the grade is usually intended to encourage participation. Formative assessment should be returned to the students with feedback on how to improve the work in good time for the summative assessment to which it relates.
Examples of formative assessment include: drafts or plans for a piece of written work, worked examples of problems, case study plans, etc.