Assessment vs Evaluation: what's the difference?

Assessment and evaluation are not the same. But what are the differences between assessment and evaluation in education. This article will give you description of both of these terms and will eventually tell you 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 on the knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. By taking the assessment, teachers try to improve student 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 may reflect classroom components other than course content and mastery level. Evaluation is a final review on your instruction to gauge the quality. It’s product-oriented. This means that the main question is: “What’s been learned?”. Finally, 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 quality                              Judges quality

Individualized                                   Applied against standards

Not graded                                      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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