This tends to be contrasted with summative assessment so this is a good point from which to start. Summative assessment generally comes at the end of a programme of study, your degree classification is a summative mark. Formative assessment tends to happen during the whole process to give you an idea of where you are heading and hopefully pinpoint some areas where you might concentrate a little harder. It might seem that formative assessment is just extra work, but it can inform students and tutors of progress and in some cases quickly flag up areas where attention is needed. This is a very important part of any period of study as it is incredibly difficult for us to gauge our own learning and to be able to confidently say what steps we should be taking to improve our chances of a better final grade. Formative assessment can help with this.
If you would like to use some of the tools in learn.gold to support this kind of assessment, contact TaLIC firstname.lastname@example.org.