Here Are Some of The Best Formative Assessment Tools for Teachers

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There are different assessment types teachers use to inform and guide their instruction, of particular important to us in today’s post is the one called formative assessment. Unlike pre-assessment (usually conducted before a lesson) and summative assessment (done at the end of a lesson or lesson unit), formative assessment is an ongoing form of assessment that takes place during students learning. In their book ‘Literacy 2.0: Reading and Writing in 21st Century Classrooms’,  Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher differentiated between assessment of learning (summative assessment) and assessment for learning (formative assessment). The purpose of formative assessment is to check students understanding during the learning process. Based on insights collected through formative assessment, teachers get to adjust their instructional  strategies to attend to students’ emerging learning needs better plan for future teaching/learning opportunities.

There are several ways to carry on formative assessment in your class. You can use quizzes, interactive games, polls, backchanneling, interactive videos, observations, graphic organizers, peer/self assessment, exit slips and  many more. In today’s post we are sharing with you some of the  best web tools to use to formatively assess your students. These tools, curated from different sources (see reference list at the end of the post), are easy and simple to use and you can seamlessly incorporate them in your classroom instruction.  For organizational purposes, we arranged these tools into four generic categories: student response and backchanneling tools, tools for creating interactive videos, tools for creating interactive lessons, and quizzing and polling tools . Some of the tools can comfortably fit in different categories: Check them out below and share with us your feedback in our Facebook page.

There is an infographic version of this post which you can access here.

I- Student response tools/ Backchanneling tools
These are some tools to use to gather students feedback and create backchannels for class discussions:

1- Today’s Meet (no longer available)
‘This is an excellent tool to use with students to gather instant feedback on their learning or poll them on matters related to what you teach them. Today’s Meet allows you to create rooms and invite students to join them with no sign up. It is also a very good backchannel platform where students can engage in fruitful discussions and conversations.’

2- Socrative
‘Socrative is anther great tool for getting feedback from students. Teachers can use the different question types provided by Socrative to poll their students and garner their feedback in a variety of formats using both smartphones or computers.’

3- iClicker
‘iClicker is a powerful formative assessment tool and intuitive student response system that allows for dynamic student-teacher interaction. Here is how it works: Instructors ask questions through any presentation application; students answer questions with a remote or smart device; instructors display results in real-time and record responses.’

4- Plickers
‘Plickers is a powerfully simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.’

5- The Answer Pad
This combines the functionalities of two tools: a powerful student response tool to use with students for formative assessment and a self-grading app to help you with your quizzes.

6- GoSoapBox
‘GoSoapBox is a web-based clicker tool used by educators around the world to keep students engaged and gain real-time insight into student comprehension.’

7- Recap
‘Recap is question-led chat tool augmented by the power of video that makes it easier to start deeper, more empowering discussions with students and teachers.’

II- Tools for creating interactive videos
These are tools to help you formatively assess students using  interactive videos:

1- PlayPosit
Enrich your videos with a wide variety of question types and monitor students performance in real time.

2- EDpuzzle
Add your own voice and questions to create interactive videos and track your students comprehension.

3- VideoAnt
This is a responsive video annotation tool that lets you easily add annotations and comments to web-hosted videos.

4- Flipgrid
Create a Grid for your class, pose questions and get students engaged in discussion using short video responses.

III- Tools for creating  interactive lessons
Use these tools to help you create interactive lessons where students get to interact with you teach them:
1- Nearpod
Create a lesson, add interactive content such as quizzes, polls, open-ended questions, videos, and share a live session with students during which you can receive comprehensive student assessments individually or as a class.

2- Google Classroom
Create and distribute assignments then provide real-time and direct feedback to students.

3- Spiral
Transform your class into an interactive learning space where you can create quick formative assessments, interactive presentations, turn public videos into live chat with questions and quizzes.

4- GoClass
Create interactive lessons using images, videos, texts, links and provide students feedback through notes and media annotation.

5- Socrative
Lets you ‘quickly assess students with prepared activities or on-the-fly questions to get immediate insight into student understanding’.

6- Classkick
Create personalized assignments through the use of images, videos, links, and drawings. Students provide their feedback in 1:1 or in small groups. Using generated reports, you can see who needs help and how they are performing throughout the assignment.

IV- Quizzing and  Polling tools
These are some very good tools to help you quiz and poll students in class:

1- Poll Everywhere
‘Poll Everywhere is a powerful web tool for creating and distributing polls. It offers you five types of polls to choose from: multiple choice poll, free response poll, true or false poll, clickable images poll, and discourse poll. Your respondents can vote on your poll either through SMS or via the web using the generated link you will provide them.’

2- AnswerGarden
‘AnswerGarden is a new minimalistic feedback tool. Use it for real time audience participation, online brainstorming and classroom feedback.’

3- Google Forms
‘You can create an exit ticket form in Google Forms and share it with your students. You can collect and store students responses in a spreadsheet to use for later reference. Alternatively, you can create a Google document with the questions and prompts you want students to work on and share it with them. Using the commenting feature, students add comments to the document and in this way you will be able to see what each student has contributed.’

4- Quizizz
Create engaging quizzes or use quizzes designed by others to formatively assess students learning.  Quizizz provides you with detailed class and student-level reports to help you with the assessment of students learning needs.

5- Formative
Lets you build assignments and get live responses and feedback from students.

6- Quizalize
Select a pre-designed assessment or create your own from scratch and get instant insights on how your students are performing. No marking, scores are calculated automatically.

7- Triventy
Another helpful tool for creating class quizzes. Create a quiz, share it with students using a generated link, students access the quiz from their devices, no app installation required.

8- Kahoot
Lets you create fun and engaging learning games using a variety of questions and multimedia content.

8 Good Exit Ticket Tools for Teachers (EdTech and mLearning)
A Visual Chart on Summative Vs Formative Assessment (EdTech and mLearning)
Top Tech Tools for Formative Assessment  Common Sense Education
Fantastic, Fast Formative Assessment Tools (Edutopia)
Know Students Better: A Visual Guide to Formative Assessment Tools (Learning in Hand)
Examples of Formative Assessments (West Virginia Department of Education)
60 Formative Assessment Strategies by Natalie Regier, M. Ed.