Terryl Yates
39 supporters
Informal and Formal Assessments in edTPA ...

Informal and Formal Assessments in edTPA: Prompt 5, Rubric 5

Jan 04, 2023

edTPA Terminology Surrounding Assessments

The Question: The most commonly used terms for assessments in our schools are formative and summative. However, edTPA uses the terms informal and formal. Are they just synonyms?

The Answer: No, the terms formative/summative and informal/formal are NOT synonymous and should not be used interchangeably.

  • Formative and summative assessment refer to the purpose of the assessment.

  • Formal or informal assessment refers to the type or format of the assessment.

What are the purest definitions of formative and summative assessments?

Formative assessment: Assessment 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. More specifically, formative assessments:

  • help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work

  • help teachers recognize where students are struggling and address problems immediately

Formative assessments are generally low stakes, which means that they have no or only mild consequences for the student. There might or might not be grades assigned but a formative assessment would not carry the weight of a summative assessment.

  • Examples of formative assessment: Bellringers, Exit Slips, observation, quizzes, homework, independent practice, classwork, thumbs up/down, review games, quick writes.

    • There are two types of formative assessments: informal and formal.

Summative assessment: Assessment to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. Summative assessments are often high stakes, which means that they have significant consequences for the student (such as a significant grade, assignment to remediate and/or repeat a unit of instruction or a course, etc.)

  • Examples of summative assessments: exams, chapter/unit tests, final projects, presentation, standardized tests, performance, recital. All summative assessments are formal.


There are two types of formative assessments:

  • Informal

  • Formal

Definitions from edTPA Handbook Glossary

  • Informal assessments may include, for example, student questions and responses during instruction and teacher observations of students as they work or perform. Most informal assessments would not be result in tangible evidence that you could present to a parent.

  • Formal assessments may include, for example, quizzes, homework assignments, journals, projects, and performance tasks. These assessments are usually tangible.

The best way to discern if an assessment is informal or formal is to ask IS IT TANGIBLE? Could you, if needed, SHOW the assessment to a parent? If it is tangible, you would be able to show it to a parent. Formal assessment are almost always tangible.

How to use this information to score well on Rubric 5.

Rubric 5 is scored from Prompt 5. While it doesn't really matter to edTPA scorers what you call your assessments, it is important for you to have a variety of assessments planned throughout your learning segment.

In this video, I explain how to respond to prompt 5 in order to help you perform well on Rubric 5.

Use this video to help you check your work on Planning Commentary Prompt 5, optimizing your chances to get a 5 on Rubric 5!

Need a good lesson plan template? Mine is highly rated and comes with guidance. Check it out by clicking here.

Remember: Don't let edTPA stand in your way!

Mamaw Yates

Click here to visit my TpT Store!

Click Here to Follow Me on Pinterest

Click Here to Follow Me on Instagram

Click Here to Follow Me on Facebook

Click Here to Follow Me on YouTube

Click here to schedule Tutoring

Enjoy this post?

Buy Terryl Yates a coffee

More from Terryl Yates