What are the Types of Informal Assessment?

Assessments are essential whether you’re a parent teaching from home or a teacher with a full class. But, unfortunately, when we hear the word assessment, it’s usually followed by a stark image of rows of chairs in a deadly silent school hall and some very nervous students. However, that image goes under the category of a formal assessment.

So, what’s the difference between a formal and informal assessment?

Formal is set under conditions, they’re structured, and the data from it will be collected. Coursework, exams, and class tests are all examples of formal assessments that everyone will experience throughout their school life.

Informal assessments can be integrated into any normal day-to-day activity. As a result, they will usually be fun and relaxed, and students won’t necessarily consider them scary tests. But, most of the time, students won’t be forewarned that they’re happening.

Although the data from an informal assessment won’t be recorded for official use, they are wonderfully handy for giving a clear idea of the class skill level or highlighting individual students who might need more help than others.

Because they can be so personally useful to parents and teachers and are a lot of fun for students, we’ve put together a list of types of informal assessments below, with loads of great links to Twinkl resources that might help.


Simply observing your class or home student is the easiest type of informal assessment. You can do this by yourself or invite other teachers and educational practitioners to observe. Observation is one of the best types of informal assessment because it allows students to act completely naturally. They don’t know they’re being watched, so they aren’t trying to impress or improve. Instead, you get an unfiltered look at the areas where your student/s are succeeding or needing help. Observation also includes looking over old pieces of classwork. It is natural for teachers; to keep track of classwork, and improvements are an expected part of being a teacher and a type of informal assessment. You’re taking in the information from work and judging how best to teach based on that information.


Presentations can come in a variety of forms, but most will be a type of informal assessment. Sometimes just inviting a student for a chat, where they explain their work to you, is a presentation – and will give masses of essential insight into your understanding. Presentations also include PowerPoints and hand-outs. You’ll benefit from seeing language skills if you encourage students to make these themselves. For topics like foreign languages, presentations are a crucial way to promote speaking, reading, and writing skills.

A huge aspect of presentations in class engagement. If you’re a teacher with a group of students, asking one to present and inviting questions from the others will show how well learners engage with new topics, where their thought process leads to, and the quick thinking skills of the presenter as they choose the right answer.


At the end of each day or week, it could be a great idea to get students to complete a short journal about how they feel they have done it. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like an informal assessment but a fun activity. However, a feedback journal is a wonderful insight into student life. Setting out the journal system with set questions to answer, for instance, “three things I’ve learned” or “what I didn’t understand very well,” you can get direct notes from students about where to spend time with them.

Journals provide feedback and are a great resource for tracking students handwriting, spelling, and grammar. You don’t have to mark or correct them (in fact, it’s better if you don’t), but you can take the information you learn back to your classes and help students without them even realizing they’ve asked for it.

It’s also a great tool for parents and guardians. When it comes to giving caretakers feedback about how their child is developing in education, they will be thrilled to hear it in their child’s own words. In addition, it will open a good dialogue between the child, carer, and teacher – who all have open lines of communication thanks to the journal.

Four Corners

Four Corners is a fantastic assessment that gets students up and moving. Again this is perfect for at home or in class and asks students to move to a corner of the room that corresponds to the answer to the question. The game can start easy enough for younger learners where you can split your learning space down the middle, with one side representing true and the other false. Then ask simple questions about a topic, and students will need to stand on the side of the room they believe has the correct answer. As students get older and topics become more complex, you can use all four corners of your learning space or even more areas, and give more answer options.

This type of informal assessment shows how quickly students can retain and recall information but adds the benefit of seeing how they interact as a group. For example, who’s confident in their answer? Who is just following the crowd? Best of all, which area of a topic are most people still unsure about?

Self Evaluation

It could be the essential type of informal assessment. A student’s ability to self-reflect and conclude about their learning is a vital life skill. As much as the purpose of schooling is to educate young people with facts and figures, it should also impart skills they can use throughout life – a self-evaluation is one of these skills.

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