Assessment vs Evaluation: what's the difference?

Assessment and evaluation are not the same. But, what are the differences between an assessment and evaluation in education. This article will describe both of these terms and outline the differences between them. 

Assessment vs Evaluation

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What is an assessment?

What's the definition of assessment in education? Assessment is the systematic process of documenting and using empirical data to measure knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. By taking the assessment, teachers try to improve the student's path towards learning. This is a short definition of assessment. If you want to read more about assessment, click on this link.

What is evaluation?

What's the definition of evaluation in education? Evaluation focuses on grades and might reflect classroom components other than course content and mastery level. An evaluation can be used as a final review to gauge the quality of instruction. It’s product-oriented. This means that the main question is: “What’s been learned?” In short, evaluation is judgmental.


You’re gifted a flower.

Evaluation: “The flower is purple and is too short with not enough leaves.”

Evaluation is judgmental


Assessment: “I’ll give the flower some water to improve its growth.”

Assessment increases the quality

Relationship between Assessment and Evaluation

Besides the differences, there are also some similarities between assessment and evaluation. The both require criteria, use measures and are evidence-driven.

So, what’s the difference?

Assessment                                Evaluation

Is ongoing                                          Provides closure

Improves learning quality               Judges learning level

Individualized                                    Applied against standards

Ungraded                                           Graded

Provides feedback                           Shows shortfalls

Process-oriented                             Product-oriented

Read more about assessment vs testing.

Useful resources

University at Albany
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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