Assessment vs. evaluation

What is the difference between assessment & evaluation?

You may often hear the terms assessment and evaluation used interchangeably. However, they are different processes.

Assessment aims to enable learners to adjust their approach or study habits so that they can enhance their learning. Examples of assessment include implementing “mud cards,” polling students to gauge understanding during the class, and assigning reflection papers.

In contrast, evaluation is a process that uses a variety of quantitative or qualitative techniques to analyze program, pedagogical, or course outcomes to determine whether they have been met.

Assessment is a diagnostic tool focused on the learning of individual students, whereas evaluation determines the extent to which a program or pedagogy achieves predetermined goals or outcomes.

To request a consultation related to assessment approaches or pedagogical best practices, please contact our teaching and learning staff at tll@mit.edu. Our research and evaluation staff comprise a separate team that focuses on designing and conducting rigorous studies intended to evaluate outcomes.