mshields@alsde.edu / @mjshields
We will review successful formative assessment tools that are easy-to-use, web-based, and FREE (not to mention FUN)!In this hands-on training, teachers will “test drive” several of the tools. Both teacher and student examples will be provided.
Formative assessments are ongoing assessments, reviews, and/or observations in a classroom. We use them to improve our instructional methods, as we gauge student feedback throughout the teaching and learning process. In this session, we’ll revisit many traditional forms of formative assessments, such as exit slips and “turn and talks,” using teacher and student friendly digital tools for grades 5-12. We will also review other emerging formative assessment tools that align perfectly with 1:1 and BYOD school initiatives. Participants are guaranteed to leave with at least one “gotta use” tool when they return to their classrooms.

  • Formative assessments, also called "evidence of learning," are ongoing assessments, reviews, and/or observations in a classroom. Teachers use formative assessment to improve instructional methods and student feedback throughout the teaching and learning process. The results of formative assessments are used to modify and validate instruction.
  • Dr. Bice included formative assessments in his 3rd "Absolute": Students monitored regularly through formative, interim/benchmark assessments to inform the effectiveness of the instruction and continued learning needs of individuals and groups of students. Read all Five Absolutes.

Formative Assessment MythsCopied from NCTE's Fostering High Quality Formative Assessment
Myth: Formative assessment means giving ungraded assignments.
Recognizing that assessment does not always mean giving students a grade is key to understanding formative assessment. Ungraded or “comments only” responses to students’ work can be an important part of formative assessment. This is especially true if the responses give students clear suggestions about how they can improve. However, by itself, the absence of a grade does not constitute high-quality formative assessment. It is the feedback students receive—timely, specific, and task-focused—from teachers or other adults, peers, or through structured self-assessment, not the absence of grades, that makes formative assessment high-quality.

Myth: The purpose of formative assessment is to improve teaching.
Reality: What teachers learn from formative assessment can certainly help shape teaching decisions. Identifying areas where students are having difficulty as well as where they have clear understandings can lead teachers to change classroom practices in order to reach instructional goals. Formative assessment can also address curriculum development by helping teachers and instructional leaders develop strategies for improving student learning in an entire school or district. However, changes in teaching and curriculum are not the central purpose of formative assessment. High-quality formative assessment always puts student learning at the center.

Myth: The purpose of formative assessment is to help students understand teachers’ goals.
Reality: One benefit of formative assessment is that it can help students learn more about the goals for a given lesson, unit, or course, but another advantage is that it helps students to evaluate their own learning more effectively. Students who are clear about what and how to learn in a given class become
more motivated and engaged learners.

Myth: Formative assessment is subjective while summative assessment is objective.
Reality: Formative assessment occurs during the learning process while summative happens at the end, but formative assessment is equally objective. The difference lies in how evaluative instruments are used. For example, a rubric that lists criteria for evaluating writing can be used formatively to help students understand what is expected and summatively to assign a grade.

NCTE's Formative Assessment that Truly Informs Instruction PDF

Technology-Infused Formative Assessments

  • The Answer Pad - The Answer Pad is a free, enhanced student response system, together with a grading tool for assessments for BYOD. Go Interactive, has 6 different response types, an awesome draw feature. It engages reluctant students, encouraging them to show what they know, enabling teachers to immediately gauge understanding in the classroom. The Answer Pad can then score paper quizzes, with multiple question types, cutting grading time significantly.
  • Classpager - Engage students with polls, exit tickets, event reminders, and more using ClassPager. Questions can be both open response and multiple choice.
  • Cel.ly - Cel.ly is primarily a free group texting service. With Cel.ly, you can have open group chat, one-way alerting, or a hybrid where curators can approve messages. Cel.ly also provides security and privacy as phone numbers are never exposed and there are controls. An @me feature lends itself to note taking. Cel.ly even has a built-in polling feature complete with the tabulation of results.

  • 33 More Digital Tools for Formative Assessment

54 Examples of Formative Assessment (includes both digital and non-digital practices)

Formative Assessments - Best Practices

Ron Berger on Formative Assessments


Formative Assessment Resources: Try Them Today, Tomorrow, or Sometime Soon (Teaching Channel)

More Formative Assessment Demonstrations (5-10 Minutes Videos)

Additional Formative Assessment Classroom Demonstrations

Other Tools for Formative Assessment

English Language Arts Portfolio Assessments