Diagnostic assessments are used to evaluate learners. Often school administrators want to measure various educational tools used within the school. Diagnostic assessment is one way to measure the effectiveness of implemented programs as well as the students' academic background. Such measurement may offer the school authorities guides for future course of action.


Diagnostic assessments have many different functions. They are used in skills assessment and objectivity tests. They involve standardization, and they address the competency standards of the assessed learner. Diagnostic assessments are organized in different ways. They may be administered in schools, under a department or under a particular classroom setting. They may also be used within the setting of an educational institution or on state and national levels.


The three categories are diagnostic evaluation, summative assessment and formative assessment. These three methods offer key information that may be used by the policy makers or counselors to determine stages of learning applicable to any learner.

Diagnostic Assessment

Diagnostic assessment is used to determine the current level of knowledge and skill of a learner. The learning activities of such individual would be developed and tailored along those lines. Diagnostic assessment is best used at the initial point to get a glimpse into the learner's stage of learning. Diagnostic assessment would also prove very informative when a multidisciplinary situation is involved, where different individuals in the course have different levels of academic backgrounds.

Formative Assessment

The aim of formative assessment is to provide support for the learner based on her unique learning level. Formative assessment uses practical models to help learners through a hands-on approach. Developmental activities are centered on use of practical tools to improve the quality of learning for the student in question.

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment is used to grade and judge the particular level of understanding of the student with regard to movement of the student from one level to another. Summative assessments may be used for certification purposes. Examinations and quizzes may be administered and graded. Such exams would be administered under controlled environment using several other variables, such as start time and end time for the test or exam.