A big benefit of doing formative assessment properly is that we get to know our students really well. But why is this important? It has to do with the fact that teachers don't actually create learning, but rather encourage and facilitate it.
Only learners create learning, but teachers guide the process by responding to student performance.
This is where knowing our students well through assessment comes into play.
Tony Vincent of Learning in Hand provides a list of terrific digital assessment tools in Know Students Better: 17 Tools for Formative Assessment. These are perfect tools for really getting to know students through our assessments.
In his article, Tony also stresses the intrinsic value of knowing students through effective assessment:
"When teachers know their students well, they can build strong connections that lead to better learning. Knowing students’ interests, strengths, and weaknesses help teachers tailor learning experiences for their students. Formative assessment involves the teacher collecting information about what students know, don’t know, and want to learn."
Today we are living in a world where the one constant is that nothing is constant. It is a world of change and adaptation. As a result, we're facing a different kind of student, one that is more complex and challenging to learn about. Good digital assessment tools like the ones Tony has provided lead the way in helping us do this as teachers. In the process, we provide students with the kind of assessment that benefits them on every level.
17 Digital Assessment Tools to Try
This list of digital assessment tools is below, along with the links that will get you to them. Check out Tony's full article for some more terrific insights and resources for getting to know students with your assessments.
- Google Forms: Create forms with hyperlinks, images, and videos. Use them for surveying and quizzes.
- Plickers: Plickers is a simple app that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.
- Poll Everywhere: A real-time polling app that works with mobile, Twitter, or in your web browser.
- Socrative.com: A free web-based service that lets you assess students with prepared activities or on-the-fly questions to get immediate insight into understanding.
- Nearpod: Nearpod works in the browser of any device to let you create or upload a slideshow, to which you then add your own questions.
- Classflow: Classflow lets you build lessons using cards you create using the content of your choice.
- Formative: Formative lets you create lessons using any Internet-connected device and is optimized for 1:1, BYOD, flipped or blended classrooms. Get results and respond in real time.
- Classkick: Upload a PDF and add text, drawings, photos, hyperlinks, and audio recordings to create dynamic lesson content.
- Padlet: A free website for collecting and sharing text, images, videos, and files.
- Seesaw: Students show their work with photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. You can also import directly from most popular apps.
- Recap: A free app that lets teachers prompt the students to explain their thinking on a question or topic using video.
- Kahoot: This is a popular free class quiz game that lets teachers use multiple choice or sequencing questions.
- Quizizz: Another great game and quiz-making application.
- Quizlet: Lets students learn and improve by studying with flashcards, games and more.
- Quizalize: This is a new website for playing class quiz games. The teacher inputs their own questions or they can use a pre-made quiz.
- Triventy: This is a tool for making group surveys and quiz games. Again, the teacher can use their own questions or use ones on the site.
- SketchParty TV: A Pictionary-style drawing game, perfect for reinforcing vocabulary and visual communication skills.