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Formative Evaluation Vs. Summative Evaluation

Stephen Rampur
This information centers on formative and summative evaluation, which are two of the most important evaluation techniques that are used.
In simple words, evaluation is an activity that is related to determining all the impacts and aspects of any particular course or concept. It is largely utilized in today's corporate and business world, and is very helpful in bettering the implemented processes and policies.
For carrying out evaluation strategies in a company, there are many essentials needed, such as teamwork, management skills, logical thinking, and decision-making. The two most significant evaluation techniques are formative evaluation and summative evaluation.

Why is Evaluation Carried Out?

The primary reason for evaluation being adopted in businesses and educational sectors is that it helps the entity to determine if the training or process is effective, and what are the further steps for meliorating the process. It certainly helps the management to take the necessary steps in making their concepts and policies better.
For different stages in a process or training, there are different evaluation strategies which serve the purpose appropriately.

Formative Evaluation vs Summative Evaluation

''The purpose of formative evaluation is to validate or ensure that the goals of the instruction are being achieved and to improve the instruction, if necessary, by means of identification and subsequent remediation of problematic aspects.''
Weston, McAlpine, and Bordonaro (1995)
Formative evaluation is a technique used for assessing a project when it is in the running stage. It aims at making the processes and trainings better by removing all unnecessary policies and practices. Its main objective is to give importance to available strengths, and try to convert weaknesses into strength.
In this type of evaluation, professional habits and working styles are developed. Formative evaluation plans comprise many steps, such as determining needs, structured formulations, essential process implementations, etc. This concept can be cleared if we take the example of employee training conducted in an organization.
In the training process, the management evaluates how the training can be made effective so that the participants would get the best possible knowledge from it. There is an effort to make the training better, by removing apparent irregularities. Moreover, formative evaluation methods are implemented in the middle of the process to make it more effectual.
''All assessments can be summative (i.e., have the potential to serve a summative function), but only some have the additional capability of serving formative functions.''
Scriven (1967)
On the other hand, summative evaluation puts light on the ultimate effectiveness of the overall process or training that is carried out. It helps the company in determining if the purpose of imparting the training was fulfilled.
You can say that summative evaluation strategies follow a retrospective procedure. For example, in a company, a training is conducted. After the completion of the training, the management uses summative evaluation methods to access how many attendees actually benefited from the training, and records the level of training effectiveness.
Summative evaluation comprises steps such as final result assessments, effectiveness evaluations, cost to benefit comparison, etc. Unlike formative evaluation strategies, summative evaluation is executed at the very end of the project or training.
An important point to note is that all evaluation types can serve the summative purpose, however, there are just a few which are exclusively meant for formative functions. The main difference between both is between the aim of implementation, and the time when the evaluation technique is implemented.