Recently I asked my 25 year old son and 21 year old daughter what the term assessment and evaluation meant to them. Interestingly there response was quite similar. “Dad is this a trick question? Don’t they mean the same thing?” I think this would be a common response unless of course a decision before hand is made by the individual to make a concrete decision to differentiate the two terms. Being in the education system for such a lengthy time one gets to entertain the terms assessment, formative, summative, and evaluation quite frequently and make the necessary distinction as it applies to their classroom environment. As we move into the 21st century of learning how does the terms assessment and evaluation change or do they?


Assessment to me refers to a moving process implemented by the teacher using a variety of methods to determine student understanding as they engage in the learning process. Evaluation reflects on the assessment of the student’s progress and a determination if they have achieved the outcomes. Evaluation determines whether or not a student advances or is retained.

According to Garrison and Ehringhaus summative assessments are given periodically to determine at a particular point in time what students know and do not know. This of course is a tremendous tool for teachers to help determine if their teaching is effective and students are engaged and learning.

Formative assessment helps teachers determine next steps during the learning process as the instruction approaches the summative assessment of student learning. Formative assessment determines whether or not students have achieved the desired outcomes.

As an employee for the Eastern School District we have an assessment and evaluation policy that all educators must adhere to. Below you can find a copy of this policy.