Using MCQs for Formative and Summative Purposes 

When used by skilful practitioners, MCQs can be used for both formative and summative purposes at different phases of a course or shorter teaching event such as a lecture or tutorial. Table 2 (adapted from McAlpine, 2004. p. 126) identifies different phases of curriculum, describes the focus of each phase and provides examples of how multiple-choice can be used in ways that align with each particular focus.
Table 2: Applications of MCQs at different phases of courses and other teaching events 
Using MCQ For Formative Assessment
An important message conveyed in this table is the flexibility of MCQs in that they have a wide range of application beyond the summative. As these examples demonstrate, they can be used effectively for multiple formative purposes such as developing student learning, stimulating thought and discussion and providing lecturers and tutors with feedback to monitor the effectiveness of their teaching.
The above content is base on one of the discussion papers of The University of Queensland, September 2007  
Further reading:
Online MCQ - formative or summative assessment? Experiences from a higher educational environment. (click here to read)
For general information