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A Maryland State Department of Education Resource

Formal and Informal Assessments

Two educators collaborate

Formal and informal assessments should both be used during transition planning. The differences between the two instruments and examples of each can be found below.

Formal AssessmentsInformal Assessments
• Standardized Instruments 
• Tested for reliability and validity
• Scores can be compared across student populations.
• Guidelines for administering, scoring, and interpreting
• Not Standardized
• Lack formal reliability and validity measures
• No comparison with other students.
• Can be used to collect data from a variety of • individuals 
• Useful in designing and evaluating the effects of instructional interventions

Assessment Examples

Formal AssessmentsInformal Assessments
• Achievement Tests
• Intelligence Tests
• Adaptive Behavior Scales
• Behavior Rating Scales
• Interest inventories
• State Assessments 
• Social Skills Inventories
• Self-determination Scales
• Comprehensive Transition Inventories
• Independent Living Assessments
• Aptitude Test
• Vocational Evaluation
• Career Development Inventory
• Vocational Skills
• Interviews
• Questionnaires
• Teacher generated assessments
• Classroom Observations
• Worksite observations
• Situational Assessments
• Discovery process
• Record Reviews
• Interest Surveys
• Environmental Analysis
• Employer Evaluations
• Preference Checklists
• Work Preference and Values Survey
• Self-Advocacy/Self-Determination Checklist
• Assessing College Readiness Checklist
• Task Analysis

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