Five Fabulous Free Formative Assessment Tools
By Social Studies Teacher and Guest Blogger Bethany Petty
Formative assessment is incredibly important in the classroom, and the availability of amazing tools to measure student understanding has drastically increased with the evolution of technology in the classroom! Check out five of my absolute favorite FREE formative assessment tools!
As a flipped classroom teacher, embedding formative assessment into my instructional videos is an absolute must. Students must actively participate in instructional videos in order to gain an understanding of the content. EDpuzzle provides the perfect platform to accomplish this goal! The EDpuzzle platform is FREE and easy to use. Teachers create an account (a Google single sign-in is available — thankfully!) and can then choose to create classes manually or import their classes from Google Classroom! Any tool that integrates with Google Classroom almost immediately makes my teacher heart smile. Teachers can then create video lessons by uploading original content and embedding formative assessment or can search for and use lessons created by other teachers. EDpuzzle is available for students through the web or iOS platforms. Recently, EDpuzzle unveiled new features including the department channel which allows and promotes collaboration among teachers (within a school), and my favorite — the Gradebook feature! Teachers can now view student progress across videos … the gradebook even shows a screenshot of the video at the top of the column. It’s fantastic!
This fantastic FREE website has been a wonderful addition to my flipped/blended/gamified classroom! Kahoot offers three game settings, quiz, survey, and discussion, and encourages students to actually be excited about answering content related questions! Teachers sign up for a free account and can then create their own Kahoot or choose from the thousands of existing Kahoots! Teachers can use available Kahoots immediately in their classroom, or can easily add and delete questions to tailor the game to the needs of their students. One of the recent updates to Kahoot allows teachers to turn off point values for questions, which is fantastic for introducing new material! I like to play a Kahoot that I make for a unit review before we begin the unit to pre-assess my students’ content knowledge. It’s fantastic! I award Bonus XP to students who place in the top three of any Kahoot we play, and also choose a random number to award Bonus XP. Kahoot is absolutely fabulous! Give it a try!
Quizizz is another FREE gamified formative assessment tool that is just so fun! Teachers create an account and, as with Kahoot, can search thousands of existing games or make their own to assign. A huge difference lies in the presentation of the content. Whereas Kahoot requires students to look up at the board to view the question/answer choices, all of the questions and answers with Quizizz are displayed on the student computer. A leaderboard is displayed on the teacher’s projector/computer. This is great! In addition to using already created games, teachers can also search questions that relate to their content. This is a fabulous feature for my classroom! I love that I can include content questions created by other teachers. Sometimes, it’s good for my students to see a question about the content we cover that was created by someone else. Quizizz also has the capability to assign activities as homework AND integrates with Google Classroom. Woohoo! My absolute favorite feature of Quizizz, you ask? The MEMES! When students answer a question on Quizizz, they are greeted by an awesome meme based on whether or not their answer was correct. It. Is. Fantastic! Teachers can even create and upload their own memes!
Padlet is one of those wonderful tools that teachers can use in just about any situation. Studying ancient Egypt? Allow students to choose a pharaoh and list biographical information about their ruler on a Padlet wall. Then, share the link to that Padlet wall in the About section of Google Classroom for future reference. Viewing a film in your classroom? Create a Padlet wall for the video and then post questions or prompts daily to encourage your students to dive deeper into the movie. Ask students to compare characters as they are depicted in the film to the “real-life” counterpart. I LOVE using this activity when showing Lincoln in my Government classes! In my flipped classroom, my students post to a Padlet wall as an exit ticket after viewing an instructional video. Sometimes, students are told to post one thing they learned from the video and something with which they are still unfamiliar. Other days, students are required to simply post a concept they still need help with or type, “it’s all good” before they leave class for the day. I also use Padlet walls as review activities before a unit test. After students complete their study guide, they can post to the “request for review” Padlet. Then, I create a screencast of the Padlet wall and review information they post! Definitely add Padlet to your formative assessment repertoire! (Padlet offers a free and Backpack version for schools. All activities described in this post can be completed via the free version!)
Oh, Google Forms. How I love you! Google Forms have undergone many fantastic upgrades over the years, and the most recent change is probably my most favorite of all! During the summer of 2016, Google added the option to make any form a quiz with a click of a button … or a slide of a slider in this case! The new version of Google Forms allows teachers to easily add an answer key to any multiple choice, checkbox, or dropdown question AND add answer feedback! Answer feedback can include encouraging words or further instructions for the students, and can even include a link to any page. Wow! Just as before, a Google Sheet can be linked to any Google Form and can easily be formatted (with the conditional formatting menu) to provide teachers with color-coded formative assessment data! Woohoo!
Formative assessment is vitally important in all classrooms, a fact all teachers know to be true! With the inclusion of a variety of devices in classrooms around the world, teachers have access to fun and free tools to formatively assess their students!
Bethany Petty is a Christian, Mommy, Wife, high school Social Studies teacher, blogger, reader, runner, and shopper who is excited about using educational technology to enhance the learning environment and increase student engagement! Bethany is the blogger behind Teaching with Technology where she shares tips, tools, reflections, and ideas from her flipped/gamified/blended high school classroom. Bethany’s blog was recently included in EdTech Magazine’s Must Read K-12 IT Blogs. Bethany is a Google for Education Certified Trainer, Nearpod Pionear, EDpuzzle Pioneer, and Flipped Learning Ambassador who loves to share ideas and experiences with educators around the world! Follow Bethany on Twitter @Bethany_Petty.