Difference Between Formal and Informal Assessment

Assessments are an important part of any educational job. It helps all the teachers to assess their students so that they can make correct decisions about grasping the students. Assessment has been classified into two categories, the first one is formal assessment, and the other is informal assessment. Here is the detailed difference between formal and informal assessments.

Formal Assessment vs Informal Assessment

The main difference between formal and informal assessment is that it is the way to find out how much a student has learned from the instruction period, including exams, screening, and tests, etc. while informal assessments are the tools through which the performance and skill level of students are judged by teachers.

Formal Assessment vs Informal Assessment

Formal assessment is the way to check out each student’s performance objectively. It helps the teachers to know how much a student has learned during the instruction period. This type of assessment is announced when the topic ends, and then the questions are asked in this type of assessment that is related to the topic.

Informal assessments are those forms of assessments that help the teachers to measure the student’s performance through presentations and different activities in the class. It also helps to judge the student’s skill level. To assess the skills of students, you can ask some questions that they are required to answer in front of the whole class.

Comparison Table Between Formal and Informal Assessment 

Parameters of ComparisonFormal AssessmentInformal Assessment
DefinitionIt is the way to judge student performance based on any objective test.It is the way to judge the skill level of any student by presentations or class activities
ExampleStandardized testsObservations
Testing wayBy test and quizzesBy observing students in between the lecture by stopping it
CriteriaCriteria to evaluate the performance of studentsNo criteria to evaluate the performance of students
PurposeIt is used to access the student’s knowledge at the end of a lecture.It is used to check the learner’s skill level and progress

What is Formal Assessment?

A formal assessment is a method that is used to check the knowledge level of a student by giving them a score in an objective type test. It is the way to find out what the student has learned during his lecture or instruction period. Tests and quizzes are the most common examples of formal assessment.

Formal assessments are used by teachers when they want to know the knowledge criteria of their students. Formal methods of grading in tests help the teachers to know about the performance of their students. Due to formal assessment, students pay more attention during their lecture and attend it carefully.

Formal assessments help the students to get higher marks by performing well in the class. Through formal assessment, students move to the next step of the learning phase. A formal assessment provides an overview of any student’s knowledge. Some various purposes of formal assessments are as follows:

  • It helps the teacher to understand the learning gaps between students and let them know which topic needs to be explained more.
  • The formal assessment also helps the teacher to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of students compared to other students.
  • It also helps them to know about the amount of knowledge that students gain from the topic.

What is Informal Assessment?

Informal assessments are used to judge the individual performance of students through any presentation or class activities. It helps to measure the student’s progress without any grading criteria. The best examples of informal assessments are the presentations that are given by students in the class or on any other occasion.

Project-based assignments and presentations are examples of informal assessment. It helps to boost up the confidence of all the students. Tests, quizzes, grading, and writing samples are all types of informal assessments. During an informal assessment, teachers never give grades to their students to check their progress level, but they only check out the performance of students during the presentation.

The purpose of informal assessment is to check the learners’ progress and identify the difficulties and challenges that they may face. Some various purposes of informal assessment are as follows:

  •  Informal assessment is the way to evaluate the practical skills of the students.
  • Projects and presentations are given to students for performing the informal assessment.
  • In the informal assessment, no criteria are decided to evaluate the performance of students by a presentation.

 Main Differences Between Formal and Informal Assessment

  1. Formal assessments are used to determine the performance of students by taking tests of the previous topic, while informal assessment is determined by the presentation skill level in the class.
  2. Quizzes and tests are taken during formal assessment, while presentations and assignments are taken during an informal assessment.
  3. Formal assessment always has standard criteria to evaluate the performance of students, while informal assessment has no specific criteria for evaluating the performances.
  4. Formal assessments are used to know about the knowledge that the students gained during lectures. On the other hand, informal assessments are used to check out the skill level of learners.
  5. Formal assessment always has standardized tests, while informal assessment is based on observations.
Difference Between Formal and Informal Assessment


Formal and informal assessments are both essential parts of the learning phase. They can be used to improve learning and teaching. When we want to know the academic progress of students, we use formal assessment. And if you want to know about the students’ progress and skill level, then informal assessments are used. 

Both assessments are used for the academic and functional performance of the students. They both have their benefits, but when they combine, they provide a lot of student information that helps the teachers to know more about them. The formal and informal assessment also increases the motivation level of students to do better.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/107179190000700307
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=2J_OCwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA81&dq=Difference+Between+Formal+and+Informal+Assessment+&ots=RkjXvUHx57&sig=e59uQXtkqNz0sS9DAJ6Vl1ePvqw
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