Formative assessments are the perfect opportunity for you to assess student learning in an informal and stress-free way. To be most effective, teachers should give formative assessments regularly in class—ideally daily—and in a variety of unique ways that appeal to different types of learners. When this happens, students find a purpose in their learning, become more engaged in the process, and experience higher levels of achievement as a result.
And the best part is that there are endless ways for students to demonstrate both their knowledge of content and their mastery of skills through formative assessments. Plus, you can give impromptu formative assessments, so they don’t require much time or effort to create.
Formative assessments can also be a fun and imaginative way for you to collect data and make adjustments to your lesson plan quickly and easily, no matter what stage of the learning process your students are in.
And you don’t have to be a creative genius and invent different types of formative assessments on your own. We’ll show you 20 formative assessment examples that you can add to your daily schedule starting today.
1. Assess yourself
One of the simplest ways to assess students without a lot of effort on your part is to provide them with your class rubric and ask them to assess themselves. Students can work their way through each item on the rubric and rate themselves based on the amount of understanding they feel they have on this topic and the work they’ve completed on their assignment thus far. Surprisingly, students tend to grade themselves harder than you ever would, so this gives you and the students critical insight into their progress.
2. Correct the mistake
Students love to catch you making a mistake in class and point it out in front of their peers. So, take advantage of their love for proving you wrong by purposely solving a math problem with an incorrect answer or incorrectly identifying a part of speech, then having them correct the mistake for you.
3. Creating videos
Having students create their own short videos as a formative assessment can certainly help you collect essential data on their progress, but it also provides them with an excellent opportunity to become more proficient at using a variety of online tech tools. From answering a question about a historical period to role-playing a scene from a novel, showing their work on a math problem, or demonstrating the steps they’re taking during a science experiment, teachers can use student-created videos for any topic or subject area. And with digital tools like Screencast-O-Matic, students can record their screen, edit the video with the easy-to-use video editing software, and share the video once they’re done. Students can record and edit videos with Screencast-O-Matic for free and without creating an account, so student privacy and data are protected.
4. Emoji survey
Emoji surveys are another creative way to find out how your students are feeling about a particular assignment quickly and easily. For younger students, ask them to point to the emoji that most expresses their current feelings on a poster as they walk out the door, hold up an emoji index card in class, or have them draw one of their own. For older students, simply ask them to select an emoji in your online classroom or text it to you using a messaging app.
5. Entry and exit tickets
Entry and exit tickets are another great option for formative assessment. They’re very versatile because they can be created on any medium and used with any grade level or subject area. Plus, it only takes a quick second to look one over and see where your students are at in the learning process.
6. Essential questions
Essential questions are meant to be thought-provoking and help your students make meaningful connections between what they’re currently learning and how they can apply this new information to their own lives. Therefore, having students provide their answer to an essential question shows you if they have a true understanding of a topic or if they need more direction from you.
Believe it or not, you can even use illustrations for formative assessments. For example, after learning about scientific discoveries, have students draw their favorite scientist surrounded by whatever they discovered. Students can do the same for mathematicians, authors, or historical figures.
Just because you have so many tech options available these days, it doesn’t mean that you should eliminate the classics. On the contrary, a simple KWL chart lends itself well to formative assessments in the classroom, and they can be done individually, in groups, or as a whole class.
Another imaginative option for formative assessments in any classroom is to have students write a letter to a real-life or fictional person you’ve been studying—whether on paper they’ve aged, an email, an instant message, or a text message. Instruct them to include details about this person’s life in the letter and ask them questions they’ve thought of.
10. Main point
Not only are these formative assessment examples a great way to see what your students have learned and what they still need to work on, but they can also be an opportunity for them to gain more practice mastering your content standards. For example, have them write down or type up the main point of any topic they’re learning as a quick check.
11. Partner quizzes
Want to give your students a quick review without collecting a bunch of papers to look over? Pair them off and have them quiz each other. You can provide the questions, or they can come up with their own based on the day’s activity.
12. Interactive quizzes
Low-stakes quizzing is a great way to give students a formative assessment that seamlessly blends into an activity they’re already doing. With interactive digital tools like Screencast-O-Matic, you can add quizzes to any video you upload—including those made with Screencast-O-Matic or those made with other digital resources.
From multiple choice to true/false, short answers, ratings, or polls, you can use quizzes to assess student learning at the beginning, middle, or end of any video. Plus, you can randomize the order of questions, allow or prevent questions from being skipped, give automatic feedback, and view individual and aggregated data for each question. Lastly, quizzes embedded in videos using Screencast-O-Matic software can be taken anonymously or assigned to individual students based on your preference.
Class polls can also be used as a formative assessment for any grade level or subject area. Provide a question to students, preferably with three answers or more, and have the students provide their answers while you tally up the votes. You can ask them to raise their hands or even have them walk to a specific corner of the room to get them moving. You can also add a poll to a video and get real-time results for in-person assessment or asynchronous assessment in a flipped classroom.
If you need a quick and easy survey or poll without all the bells and whistles, Google Forms may be the right tool for you. You can create a formative assessment to accompany your curriculum and upload it to your online classroom within minutes.
Another formative assessment example that gives students practice with mastering content standards is to have them write a summary. Don’t be afraid to think beyond just writing summaries in English Language Arts class. Summaries can be used in any subject area, including math. For example, have them summarize the steps they took to solve a problem.
Teach your partner
Similar to quizzing their partner, you can assign each of your students a topic to become an expert in and then teach it to their partner. Then, as they share what they’ve learned with each other, you can walk around and listen in.
Students these days have grown up using apps and texting. So put their technical skills to good use and have them text their questions and answers directly to you using a messaging app. There are many to choose from, and you don’t have to hand out your personal phone number to do so.
Thinking maps help your students think critically about what they’ve learned and create a visual representation of their new knowledge. You can use various thinking maps as a formative assessment with any age group—including circle maps, flow maps, bubble maps, and tree maps.
Think, Pair, Share
Put all of those collaborative learning techniques to good use and have your students do a think, pair, share as a formative assessment in class. Then, you can move from group to group collecting data about your students’ current strengths and weaknesses.
Thumbs up/thumbs down
Looking for a formative assessment that requires zero prep on your part? Have students flash a thumbs up or down in class to show you their answer to any question. A thumbs-up can mean yes or move on, while a thumbs down can mean no or slow down. Your students can even turn their thumb sideways to communicate that they don’t know or your pace is just right.
Ready to get started with video quizzes for formative assessment? Video quizzes are a simple, fun, and engaging tool for formative assessments. Easily add quiz questions, polls, and ratings to any video to create an interactive learning experience for your students. Learn more about Screencast-O-Matic’s interactive video quizzing solution, available with all Solo Max Edu and new Team Education plans.