Difference Between Assessment and Evaluation

Difference Between Assessment and Evaluation

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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Feb 9, 2024 12:23 IST

The article discusses the difference between assessment and evaluation, their definitions, scope, advantages as well as disadvantages.


Although the terms assessment and evaluation seem interchangeable and can sound similar to a layman, they are different. Let us explore the difference between assessment and evaluation.

What is Evaluation?

Evaluation is a defined process of accumulating data belonging to a person or even something from various sources to get an idea of ​​the level of skills or knowledge of the subject.

When you evaluate a person, you judge them based on defined criteria and measure their performance. The evaluation process is an effective way to help a program, project, or even an organization assess a proposal, objective, or any other alternative in the decision-making process.

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A good example of evaluation is peer review. If you consider the case of online learning, platforms like Coursera follow the peer review process where a student validates the project work of another student before moving on to the next part of the course. It is done by people with the same knowledge and competencies as the course taker. They evaluate and grade each other student’s work.

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There are 3 different types of evaluations. 

  • Summative evaluation – A summative evaluation is carried out towards the end of a predetermined period.
  • Interim evaluation – The intermediate evaluation becomes a continuous process during which a subject is given regular feedback to improve.
  • Alternate evaluation – Alternative evaluation is carried out to determine how a person or subject can implement the knowledge acquired during a learning process. The examination system of schools, universities, and other institutes is an excellent example of an alternative assessment.

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What is Assessment?

The objective of the assessment is broader since it is not just about grading but also includes minor formative assessments without summative assessments, which can promote student learning by including feedback, guiding students and helping them in the next learning steps. Assessment includes frequent minor tasks that educators give students in class or as homework, in addition to summative tests or quizzes. Qualitative feedback is also part of the evaluation, acting as a control point in the student’s learning.

Assessments include tests, minor homework, and daily checks, revealing more about student learning than grades. While grades can indicate student progress or serve as red flags, assessments can identify specific learning gaps that may require teacher intervention. By themselves, ratings don’t reveal that level of detail.

Assessment forms a crucial component of the teaching and learning journey. It provides the teachers with data at the individual and group levels. Are the students learning what we are teaching them? Is there a way to increase teaching effectiveness to encourage better learning outcomes for the student? In other words, are the goals of education being met?

The assessment process includes the following:

  • Setting goals 
  • Collecting qualitative and quantitative information
  • Using the information to improve quality.

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Main Difference Between Assessment and Evaluation

The main difference between assessment and evaluation is that assessment involves collecting information to understand individual progress and provide feedback to support learning, while evaluation is about making judgments and determining the overall effectiveness and success of a program, project, or individual’s performance.

  Evaluation  Assessment 
Definition   Evaluation is a process of judging someone based on their importance, knowledge, and merit using rules and methods. Assessment is the recording and interpreting various data to obtain an appropriate measure of skills, knowledge, and attitude to improve the individual’s overall performance. 
Continuation of the process Means of ending an ongoing or existing process.   This is a long-term process that continues.
Result The result mainly highlights the areas for improvement. The result is always constructive feedback.
Criteria Decided solely by the evaluator. Decided by both parties involved in the evaluation process by agreement.
Standards of Measurement Comparative. This helps to understand the distinction between better and worse. Absolute. It strives to achieve the most essential outcome.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Assessments

A critical advantage of assessments over evaluations is that they provide detailed and personalized feedback. The assessment process is one of the best ways to improve your weaknesses.

Regarding the disadvantages, assessments can impact the motivation of low-performing learners, mainly when the assessment criteria are generic and not student-focused. Besides, assessments are time-consuming and also require considerable investment in resources.  

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Evaluations 

Evaluation is an effective way to match a project’s resources and outcomes.  

While assessments are spontaneous and flexible, evaluations are strict and artificial. If there is an error in the grading parameters, it affects the quality of data resulting from an evaluation process. 


Although evaluation and assessment are often used interchangeably, they differ in meaning. Evaluation concisely communicates student progress and adds a valuable component to the process, while assessment helps to obtain detailed information about that progress and measures effectiveness. Both are crucial in students’ journeys and help them shape their future.

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What are the methods used in assessment?

Assessment methods can vary depending on the context but commonly used methods include tests, quizzes, projects, presentations, observations, and interviews.

What are the methods used in evaluation?

Evaluation methods can also vary but often involve analyzing data, reviewing performance, comparing against predetermined criteria or standards, and making judgments or recommendations.

Are assessment and evaluation only used in educational settings?

No, assessment and evaluation are used in various fields, including education, healthcare, psychology, human resources, and performance management. They are applied to assess learning outcomes, employee performance, program effectiveness, etc.

How do assessment and evaluation contribute to personal growth and development?

The assessment provides individuals with feedback on their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to identify areas for improvement. Evaluation helps individuals and organizations make informed decisions for future growth and development.

About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio