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Evaluation- Types and their Characteristics

Evaluation: Types and their Characteristics

Evaluation is an integral part of any teaching and learning programme. Whenever a question is asked and answered evaluation takes place. Thus, both teaching and evaluation overlap and merge into each other. In fact, it is not possible to have teaching and learning without evaluation.

Types of Evaluation

  1. Placement Evaluation-

    Placement evaluation is designed to place the right person in the right place. It ensures the entry performance of the pupil. The future success of the instructional process depends on the success of placement evaluation.

Placement evaluation aims at evaluating the pupil’s entry behaviour in a sequence of instruction. In other words the main goal of such evaluation is to determine the level or position of the child in the instructional sequence.

We have a planned scheme of instruction for classroom which is supposed to bring a change in pupil’s behaviour in an orderly manner. Then we prepare or place the students for planned instruction for their better prospects.

Sometimes past experiences, which inspire for present learning also lead to the further placement in a better position or admission. This type of evaluation is helpful for admission of pupils into a new course of instruction.


  • (i) Aptitude test
  • (ii) Self-reporting inventories
  • (iii) Observational techniques
  • (iv) Medical Entrance exam.
  • (v) Engineering or Agriculture entrance exam.
  1. Formative Evaluation

    Formative evaluation is used to monitor the learning progress of students during the period of instruction. Its main objective is to provide continuous feedback to both teacher and student concerning learning successes and failures while instruction is in process. Feedback to students provides reinforcement of successful learning and identifies the specific learning errors that need correction. Feedback to teacher provides information for modifying instruction and for prescribing group and individual remedial work

  • Formative evaluation helps a teacher to ascertain the pupil-progress from time to time. At the end of a topic or unit or segment or a chapter the teacher can evaluate the learning outcomes basing on which he can modify his methods, techniques and devices of teaching to provide better learning experiences.
  • The teacher can even modify the instructional objectives, if necessary In other words, formative evaluation provides feedback to the teacher. The teacher can know which aspects of the learning task were mastered and which aspects were poorly or not at all mastered by pupils. Formative evaluation helps the teacher to assess the relevance and appropriateness of the learning experiences provided and to assess instantly how far the goals are being fulfilled Thus, it aims at improvement of instruction. Formative evaluation also provides feedback to pupils. The pupil knows his learning progress from time to time. Thus, formative evaluation motivates the pupils for better learning. As such, it helps the teacher to take appropriate remedial measures. “The idea of generating information to be used for revising or improving educational practices is the core concept of formative evaluation.”
  • It is concerned with the process of development of learning. In the sense, evaluation is concerned not only with the appraisal of the achievement but also with its improvement. Education is a continuous process. Therefore, evaluation and development must go hand in hand. The evaluation has to take place in every possible situation or activity and throughout the period of formal education of a pupil.
  • Cronback is the first educationist, who gave the best argument for formative evaluation. According to him, the greatest service evaluation can perform is to identify aspects of the course where education is desirable. Thus, this type of evaluation is an essential tool to provide feedback to the learners for improvement of their self-learning and to the teachers for improvement of their methodologies of teaching, nature of instructional materials, etc.
  • It is a positive evaluation because of its attempt to create desirable learning goals and tools for achieving such goals. Formative evaluation is generally concerned with the internal agent of evaluation, like participation of the learner in the learning process. The functions of formation evaluation are:
  • Diagnosing– Diagnosing is concerned with determining the most appropriate method or instructional materials conducive to learning.
  • Placement– Placement is concerned with the finding out the position of an individual in the curriculum from which he has to start learning.
  • Monitoring– Monitoring is concerned with keeping track of the day-to-day progress of the learners and to point out changes necessary in the methods of teaching, instructional strategies, etc.
Characteristics of Formative Evaluation:
  • The characteristics of formative evaluation are as follows:
  • It is an integral part of the learning process.
  • It occurs, frequently, during the course of instruction.
  • Its results are made immediately known to the learners.
  • It may sometime take form of teacher observation only.
  • It reinforces learning of the students.
  • It pinpoints difficulties being faced by a weak learner.
  • Its results cannot be used for grading or placement purposes.
  • It helps in modification of instructional strategies including method of teaching, immediately.
  • It motivates learners, as it provides them with knowledge of progress made by them.
  • It sees role of evaluation as a process.
  • It is generally a teacher-made test.
  • It does not take much time to be constructed.
  • Examples-
    • Monthly tests.
    • Class tests.
    • Periodical assessment.
    • Teacher’s observation, etc.
  1. Diagnostic Evaluation

  • It is concerned with identifying the learning difficulties or weakness of pupils during instruction. It tries to locate or discover the specific area of weakness of a pupil in a given course of instruction and also tries to provide remedial measure.
  • N.E. Gronlund says “formative evaluation provides first-aid treatment for simple learning problems whereas diagnostic evaluation searches for the underlying causes of those problems that do not respond to first-aid treatment.”
  • When the teacher finds that inspite of the use of various alternative methods, techniques and corrective prescriptions the child still faces learning difficulties, he takes recourse to a detailed diagnosis through specifically designed tests called ‘diagnostic tests’.
  • Diagnosis can be made by employing observational techniques, too. In case of necessity the services of psychological and medical specialists can be utilised for diagnosing serious learning handicaps.
  1. Summative Evaluation

    Summative evaluation is done at the end of a course of instruction to know to what extent the objectives previously fixed have been accomplished. In other words, it is the evaluation of pupils achievement at the end of a course.

  • The main objective of the summative evaluation is to assign grades to the pupils. It indicates the degree to which the students have mastered the course content. It helps to judge the appropriateness of instructional objectives. Summative evaluation is generally the work of standardised tests. It tries to compare one course with another. The approaches of summative evaluation imply some sort of final comparison of one item or criteria against another. It has the danger of making negative effects.
  • This evaluation may brand a student as a failed candidate, and thus causes frustration and setback in the learning process of the candidate, which is an example of the negative effect.
  • The traditional examinations are generally summative evaluation tools. Tests for formative evaluation are given at regular and frequent intervals during a course; whereas tests for summative evaluation are given at the end of a course or at the end of a fairly long period (say, a semester).
Functions of Summative evaluation:
  • The functions of this type of evaluation are-
  • Crediting– Crediting is concerned with collecting evidence that a learner has achieved some instructional goals in contents in respect to a defined curricular programme.
  • Certifying– Certifying is concerned with giving evidence that the learner is able to perform a job according to the previously determined standards.
  • Promoting– It is concerned with promoting pupils to next higher class.
  • Selecting– Selecting the pupils for different courses after completion of a particular course structure.
Characteristics of Summative Evaluation:
  • It is terminal in nature as it comes at the end of a course of instruction (or a programme).
  • It is judgemental in character in the sense that it judges the achievement of pupils.
  • It views evaluation “as a product”, because its chief concern is to point out the levels of attainment.
  • It cannot be based on teachers observations only.
  • It does not pin-point difficulties faced by the learner.
  • Its results can be used for placement or grading purposes.
  • It reinforces learning of the students who has learnt an area.
  • It may or may not motivate a learner. Sometimes, it may have negative effect.


  1. Traditional school and university examination,
  2. Teacher-made tests,
  3. Standardized tests,
  4. Practical and oral tests, and
  5. Rating scales, etc.
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