Which Assessment Tool Should I Use?

Assessment is one of the most important aspects of teaching and learning. It’s therefore vital that you use the proper tools for online assessment. Brightspace (D2L) offers a wide variety of tools for various types of assessments. Please refer to the table below as a guide.

Assessment TypeSuggested Brightspace Tools

Formative Assessment
The goal is to monitor student learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning.

  • Often referred to as the assessment for learning
  • Prepares learners for the summative assessment(s) and focuses on improvement and feedback
  • Should occur often, start early, and be generally low stakes

Examples: Weekly assignments, labs, graded discussions, proposals or chapter quizzes

Formal Assessment
This assessment type is evaluated and added to the overall grade in a course. A formal assessment should be authentic and clearly outlined in the course syllabus.

Formal assessment includes both formative and summative assessments.

Examples: Assignments, tests, papers, group projects, graded discussions and portfolios

Summative Assessment
The goal is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.

  • Often referred to as the assessment of learning
  • Generally high stakes, which means that they have a high point value

Examples: Final exam, midterm exam, major course paper, or capstone project

Informal Assessment
Used to just to provide feedback to the learner. These assessments are not evaluated and don’t contribute to the grade of the course

Informal assessments can play a significant role in learning but they are a method or strategy to assist a learner in their learning.

Examples: Portfolios, reflective journals, participation