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3 free formative assessment tools kids will love

While summative assessment plays a crucial role in checking students’ understanding of a topic, formative assessment is equally important. It is one of the best ways to gather essential data about student learning. It is also arguably the most effective way to inform future lesson plans. When teachers are aware of what their students know and don’t know, they are able to adjust their teaching style and content to better address their students’ needs.

There are plenty of formative assessment tools out there designed to help teachers, but you want to make sure you’re using the best. The most effective formative assessment tools are there not only for the educator’s benefit but also for the students so they can assess themselves and self-reflect. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top free formative assessment tools online to help you maximize your learners’ experience.

Socrative screenshot
Photo: Socrative

1. Socrative

Socrative is a free tool that gives teachers instant feedback from their students. This tool provides several types of questions that you can use to get the information you need about your class’s understanding.

This tool’s interactive online student-response system is accessible via Chrome, Android, and iOS apps. Teachers can use it to spark discussions and to support learning via user-created quizzes and polls. Students access the questions through their own Room Code, with their responses registering instantly on their teacher’s computer. Once everyone has responded, the teacher can see at a glance who has a clear understanding of the topic and who requires support. You can also display all the responses, using them to prompt conversations and reinforce learning.

While pen-and-paper quizzes have their place, Socrative represents a more comprehensive solution. Teachers can create their own poll questions surrounding a topic so they can support effective classroom discussions. With options ranging from quick questions to true/false answers and short responses, there is enough opportunity to assess a wide range of subjects. Even better, they can give feedback individually to every participant.

Besides basic assessment strategies, Socrative also offers the “Space Race” option. This is a collaborative activity that allows teams of students to work together to answer questions as quickly as possible. Teachers have the flexibility to select student teams as well as see real-time results.

Students themselves are able to review their assessment feedback. They can then apply their new knowledge to any future assessments within their learning environment. Meanwhile, educators are able to see the data and can either email it or download it to assist in future lesson planning.

Classcraft Boss Battle
Photo: Classcraft

3. Classcraft’s Boss Battles

Boss Battles are a fun and effective formative assessment tool for your classroom. The perfect way to prepare students for quizzes and tests, this feature is found within the Class Tools section of the Classcraft app. It’s a great way to assess your students’ understanding of any given lesson in a fun way, with students responding to questions verbally within the classroom.

You have the freedom and flexibility to create your own unique Boss Battle to suit whatever topic you’re teaching. You can select from previous questions or create a brand-new query for a new subject. Questions can have a short-answer response or a multiple-choice answer, and you can select the point value of each question. You can also decide whether you want students to answer questions in teams or individually, and you can choose to randomize the questions or call on select students.

Obviously, what makes this interactive formative assessment tool so effective is the fun factor! It’s a highly engaging way to test your students — your students receive rewards every time they answer correctly and actually see the damage they’re dealing to the boss! Students will be so absorbed in the activity that they won’t even realize that they’re consolidating and demonstrating their learning.

This assessment tool is for any instructor who wants to add a little fun to their classroom and incorporate elements of gamification into their students’ education.

Plickers
Photo: Plickers

4. Plickers

While schools are rapidly adopting the latest technology, there are still some classrooms that lack the necessary equipment or budgets to really use the top formative assessment tools on the market today. Plickers could be the answer for those less well-equipped learning environments.

One step up from the most basic pen-and-paper assessment, Plickers helps teachers to collect useful student learning data and monitor student progress while revamping their warm-ups and exit tickets. Classes can begin or end using this tool in a more engaging and meaningful way; you can ask thoughtful and insightful questions or challenge students to create their own questions to review information.

Each learning unit can begin with its own pretest to gain valuable information about where students are and what they still need to learn. This helps you identify students who need extra support or increased challenges. Meanwhile, during lessons, you can give your students reflective and procedural questions that promote metacognition. You can test exam and quiz questions before a summative assessment to determine whether you need to tweak lesson plans. With interactive answer cards, students can engage more effectively in class discussions.

Plickers has low-tech requirements. Teachers can use a single mobile device to scan students’ paper response cards. Responses are then projected automatically onto the screen for class discussion, and store reports on your class website so you can track student progress can be tracked.

Photo: Google Edu

Addressing the need for formative assessment in the classroom

Although formative assessment is an essential element in any teacher’s classroom, it can be challenging to come up with exciting ways to implement it. These four free tools are the perfect way to do just that: They help you to quickly assess student progress so you can plan for future lessons more effectively.

Photo credit: nicole-honeywill / unsplash

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