Sub domain 502.3 — Formative Evaluation


Formative evaluation is an evaluation technique, that is very important since it is a method that is used to assure investors and or company directors that a certain developed software does meet the necessary requirements on several strata’s, such as in the field of their usability and or functionality, it sometimes also includes instructional effectiveness

Formative evaluation is the type of evaluation that is purposely intended to improve programs. It is sometimes referred to as implementation evaluation or developmental evaluation. Formative evaluation is unique from other modes of evaluation since it uses general techniques of interviews, data collection, experimentation, and the use of surveys.

It is mainly intended to help entrepreneurs find out or analyze whether they are achieving their goals and objectives within the formative stages of their projects. Thus, it gives a chance to entrepreneurs to change their modes of operations early on instead of waiting until the completion of the projects.


Formative evaluation as such can be considered as a managerial pre-emptive measure. This is because even managers sometimes set aside around 15% of the project budget to formative evaluation. This is because formative evaluation goes along way in avoiding excess expenditure on unnecessary or Inefficient technologies or software’s. For example, let us assume that a company is in the industry of manufacturing specialized semi-conductor computer chips. It

Sub domain 502.3 — Formative Evaluation

would be within the interests of the company owners, the management and the potential customers to know the level of effectiveness and efficiency of the said product.

This would be done in order to avoid the complete assembly of the products only for them to be returned with different weaknesses and or defects.

To accomplish this formative evaluation is initiated. In the case above the company would produce the products prototypes and have them be tested by randomly selected sample of potential customers. These customers would be provided with the device and then after this they would be required to inform the firm on the strengths and weaknesses of the device. If any defects are realized the firm would thus rectify the problem and go ahead with another stage of the production.

Thus, formative evaluation gives managers a chance of testing their ideas early enough and goes ahead to offer chances for implementing project changes before the completion of an ongoing project. Thus, it is an indirect way of testing the content of the ideas as well as the form or mode of production.


In the process of carrying out formative evaluation there are at least three issues that managers seek to understand. Firstly, managers seek to know whether messages driven across for the production channels were clearly grasped. Secondly, the manager will seek to know whether the objectives were met or not. Thirdly, they will seek to know the unintended consequences of the project or the program.

Sub domain 502.3 — Formative Evaluation


Since the purpose of formative evaluation is to evaluate ongoing project activities then it is necessary that the process of project evaluation start at the onset of the project implementation. This process should be conducted at every necessary stage of the project development. In addition, it should be done throughout the process of the project. By doing this managers will have the chance to improve the program or the product where necessary. This goes a long way in ensuring that the goals and objectives of the project are met.


In formulating a formative evaluation plan, it is necessary to first define what is being tested. On top of this, it is necessary to define how long and when each test session will be done, then a Rota of where and on what equipment the test will be done. The testing methods should also be made clear to the target audience.


–  synchronous         discussion

–  Focus       groups

– Observation

– Pre-   and post-tests

– Surveys


Sub domain 502.3 — Formative Evaluation

In any manufacturing process or industry there is always the chance that some of the products or programs will be of sub-standard quality. It is only in rare cases that all of the products are defective. The issue of identified weakness can be diagnosed within the production process but in rare cases, it is realized after goods have already been sold and shipped and thus they have to be recalled back.

Once a weakness has been realized on a program or product the manufacturer has to make necessary arrangements in order to revise that product/program. Revising a product thus can only be done after there has been an identifiable weakness within the product/program. In rare cases after there has been an identifiable weakness, the defect may be very critical, that it may cause the manufacturer to discontinue the production of the program/product altogether.


Formative evaluation is compounded by other forms of evaluation for the complete harmonization of organizational goals. These other methods include outcome evaluation and process evaluation.


Airasian, P., Gay, L. R., Mills, G. (2006). Educational Research: Competencies for Analysis and

Applications (8th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Sub domain 502.3 — Formative Evaluation

Dick, W. & Carey, L. (2001). The systematic design of instruction (5th Ed.). Longman

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