Evaluations have two general purposes
- The summative purpose is to provide information to the administration for decisions about promotion, tenure, course assignments, and curriculum. These items are chosen by the college and departments. Summative evaluations are usually conducted at the end of the term and are most often quantitative. Results can be aggregated across courses and course levels and even across subjects if appropriate.
- The formative purpose is to provide instructors with information for improving their teaching and the course. These items are chosen by the instructor. They can be quantitative as well as qualitative. The results of these items are for the instructor's use only and are not aggregated with the summative items and are not reported to the college or department. Their use is intended to encourage instructors to innovate and to receive feedback on their innovations. Formative evaluations can occur early in the term (Early Feedback) when feedback can help make adjustments to a course or they can occur at the end of the term. Formative evaluations are entirely optional.