Every exam and quiz given provides data that can be used to inform students of their academic standing. Using frequent formative assessments helps engage students with their learning, which can also lead to increased retention rates.

Many institutions are gathering data only once a semester through summative assessments. This practice is not helpful for the students – they’re already done with the course! Formative assessments are geared to support learning during the learning process, not after it’s already completed.

Administering more frequent formative assessments throughout the course will enable educators to obtain better student data and make sure they’re on the track to success. As an educator, it’s important to know what your students know, and then be able to teach to what they don’t know.

Likewise, it’s just as important for the student. They need to know where their successes are, as well as what areas they need to focus on for improvement. By providing more formative assessments throughout the semester, you can utilize the assessment analytics to show students where they stand. When this feedback is shared, students are then able to self-assess and set their own learning goals.

By taking charge of their own learning, students may feel a stronger sense of motivation and control. The educational website Mindset reported that when students themselves identify, analyze, and use data from their learning, they become active agents in their own growth.

Formative assessments require students to reflect on their own learning. By consistently administering these assessments throughout the semester, you are ensuring that students will master new concepts and lectures along the way while staying engaged in their learning.