Blog Article

Fantastic Formative Assessment Tools that Give Great Feedback

Formative assessments are an important way to meet our students' learning needs. When we can see what our students know (or don't know) we can better adjust our teaching to meet them right at their level. Beyond giving feedback, the best formative assessments help students recognize and value the process of learning, not just the outcomes. These reflective, metacognitive moments can foster kids' genuine excitement, engagement, and lifelong learning.

There are lots of digital -- and non-digital -- formative assessment methods that teachers can employ. At times, something as simple as a show of hands, or a physical "thumbs up; thumbs sideways; thumbs down" poll can be just the right thing. But other times, it's valuable for us to get a closer look at exactly what our students are learning and comprehending.

Digital polls and quizzes are great for quick check-ins, offering real-time, whole-class feedback. Backchannels offer students the chance to ask questions and chat in real time during other activities like lectures, discussions, or even Socratic seminars. Discussion forums help students create a lively and productive exchange of ideas. A lot of tools use a combination of these features -- the best ones offer teachers the most control, with custom setups, detailed feedback, and moderation options. Here are some great digital formative assessment tools for the job:

 

Infuse Learning
Infuse Learning is a tablet-based student response system for learning through conversation and collaboration. Teachers can build assessments and track students' responses. The drawing-response tool (for sketches and diagrams) is a powerful feature here. Also, there's native-language support for English learners. Read full review.

Kahoot
Kahoot is a game-based classroom response system. Teachers can create quizzes using content from the web. Questions appear on a class screen; without needing an account, students answer in real-time on a mobile device. Kahoot is different in that it create an engaging competition among the class. Students can also create their own quizzes and assessments. Read full review.

Socrative
Socrative is a student response system with a variety of activities: quizzes, assessments, games, and even exit notes. Teachers control the flow of exercises; students respond in real time. It generates reports to help teachers track learning over time. Read full review.

Turnitin
Turnitin is mostly a tool for promoting originality in students' writing (or catching plagiarism). However, it's also a tool to support the writing process -- from teacher feedback and grading to peer evaluation and review. There's also a handy discussion forum feature, with built-in moderation. Read full review.

Poll Everywhere
Poll Everywhere sn't just for schools, but works well as a classroom response system. Students can respond via text message, Twitter, or a Web browser; teachers can project the results on the Web, or in a PowerPoint or Keynote. Read full review.

TodaysMeet
TodaysMeet is a backchannel to help an audience and presenter connect in real time. Like a closed version of Twitter, posts are limited to 140 characters. Teachers can offer students a live stream for discussion, addressing issues on-the-spot, or as an after-lecture reflective activity. Read full review.

Backchannel Chat
Backchannel Chat is just for educational use. Students don't have to enter any personal information into the system, and teachers can save, search, and archive discussions. Teachers also get a lot of control with customizable moderation options, a room-locking feature, and filtering for unwelcome content. Read full review.

GoSoapBox
is a student response system offering teachers more than a standard quiz/poll tool. The social Q&A feature allows students to vote the most relevant questions to the top, and a "Confusion Barometer" tool lets teachers track understanding throughout a lesson. Read full review.

Blendspace
Blendspace allows teachers to collect resources from the web and create a customizable, blended-instruction experience for students. Formative assessment tools are built in, allowing multiple question types, and the ability to track students' progress over time. Read full review.

Collaborize Classroom
Collaborize Classroom allows teachers to create an online classroom community for learning -- a home-base for online discussion forums, polls, assessments, and student-driven projects. There are differentiation tools and customized learning opportunities for individuals and small groups. Read full review.


Comments

Rae Ann Smith
Hempfield School District

Thanks for the great list of tools. I'm familiar with some of them but others are new to me. One website with an app I recently came across is Geddit! I've yet to use it with students but it is easy to set up and requires no student accounts. If anyone has tried it, I would love to hear your impression.

Jeff Knutson

Thanks, Rae Ann! We're familiar with Geddit -- keep a lookout, as we're likely to have a review of it soon.