Tuesday, July 26, 2016

5 Fabulous Formative Assessment Finds

This year I've led 5 professional development sessions on formative assessment. Formative assessment is key when we are being asked to identify weak points for our students, differentiate instruction, and improve mastery of our educational outcomes and objectives.

The key for me is to find formative assessments that actually lessen my workload rather than increase it. To that end I've compiled a list of 5 tools you can use for formative assessment that will not only help your students but will help you.

The bonus is that I have found that many, if not all, of these ideas actually boost student engagement at the same time!

Here we go:

#1: Zaption PlayPosit-- this resource allows you to add questions into videos that you want your students to watch. I originally did this with Zaption however that company has been sold and I needed to find an alternative. PlayPosit comes in a close second. To get the full benefit you need to purchase a subscription but I honestly think the price might be worth it. This tool is perfect if you're doing flipped classroom instruction. It can also be used in 1:1 classrooms. I put questions in to emphasize what I want my students to focus on and to check for understanding. Being able to see how each student did means I don't have to physically do much grading! Students love videos so it's a win win. And yes, I use this, and advocate the use of it with college students.

Things to consider: This takes a bit of upfront prep work. However, once you've made a "bulb" you can keep it forever. They also have a repository you can take from!

Freebie! Click Picture!
#2: Paper and Pencil-- It's easy to forget about simple things like paper and pencil. I like to use this if my students' eyes are glazing over. I have them split paper into fourths and I ask them a question or two on the fly. Or- I use my pre-printed knowledge check cards that can work with any topic I'm teaching. I print out a set and keep them on me so I can use them at any time. These work well as an exit ticket.

Things to consider: This requires some grading/sorting/tracking in order to make the information meaningful to your instruction. If having students rip up paper it can sometimes take way longer than it should! This isn't the most engaging of the options here.

#3: Kahoot-- Kahoot is an online resource that allows you to create real time competitions for students to play where they review key topics. This can use smart phones, tablets, computers etc. The less time it takes a student to answer a question the more points they get. Scores are projected on the board and you get immediate information about how many students mastered a concept and how many are still confused. This is especially good for reviewing terminology.

Things to consider: The coloring on this is a bit on the primary side. By using images and making questions rigorous you can counteract this. This is also a resource that requires a little more prep time to begin with however the interface is easy to use and once you get used to it it won't take too long. This is also used at my college and students love it! You may want to consider whether the timed aspect of it works for you and your population of students.

#4: Plickers- Plickers uses QR codes to give you immediate feedback regarding your students' knowledge of a topic. Each student gets a specific QR code on a card that you print out (for free!). My instructional designer had the genius idea to laminate them so they last longer! You give students a question by typing it into the webpage via your computer. Then, using your smartphone or tablet (you need one) you scan the room and on your device you'll see which cards got it right or wrong. You can give each student a number or you can import your roster into the program. It's pretty cool!

Things to consider: This can be a little bit more prep ahead of time but it is less so than Kahoot or Playposit. Students enjoy it and it involves a little more movement as they have to hold their cards up rather than stare at a device.

#5: Poll Everywhere- This website is great. You can create polls or multiple choice questions and have students use their computers, tablets, or phones to text in responses. If using a projector the students will see how many people chose what answer in real time. It's a real crowd pleaser. This requires a bit of set up but is easy to learn. Questions can be saved to be used again in the future.

Things to consider: Every student needs their own technology to use this. You might not want to show what people are choosing in real time so students don't copy cat. You won't know which student picked which answer so it doesn't allow as much differentiation. Rather it gives a snapshot of the whole class's understanding.


Leave a comment below with your favorite formative assessment tool!

1 comment:

  1. Great round-up! Thanks for sharing.

    Your task cards are great - don't sell yourself short by saying these aren't engaging. If students are using technology more and more, switching it up with pencil and paper WILL be engaging. ;)

    Best,
    -Danielle @ Nouvelle ELA

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