18 Of The Best Formative Assessment Tools For Teachers [Updated]

contributed by Ryan SchaafAssistant Professor of Technology, Notre Dame of Maryland University

Do they get it?

After an instructional lesson is over, educators are left with a classroom full of students looking at them. Did my students get the lesson? Are there any ideas, concepts or skills they are still unsure of? Do my students have any misconceptions about the lesson and its content? Do I have to review anything tomorrow?

These are just a few of the questions reflective educators are left to contemplate after the bell has rung. In truth, many of these reflective questions educators are left asking themselves can be addressed if they use an exit ticket. Exit tickets are a simple, quick, and oftentimes insightful formative assessment method employed close to the end of a lesson. It is a simple task that requires learners to answer a few questions or perform certain tasks explored during the learning process.

The format of an exit ticket varies. Educators can use a variety of question/activity types. There are multiple-choice, true or false, short written response, matching, cloze (fill in the blank), and surveys or polls to name but a few. In terms of classroom implementation, exit tickets should be short, concise, and engage learners in a review of the skills, concepts, and experiences explored during the lesson. They are also ideal for continuing the learning into the next class – many educators begin with the exit tickets from the previous lesson to activate students’ previous knowledge.

In the age of digital learning, exit tickets are no longer confined to small slips of paper collected by educators as students leave their classrooms (although this method is still fine). There are numerous digital tools at the disposal of educators to collect this valuable performance data from their students.

Here are 18 of the best formative assessment tools for teachers–to glean data, take snapshots of understanding, create digital exit slips, and more.

Digital Exit Slips? 18 Of The Best Formative Assessment Tools For Teachers

1. Loop

Using digital exit ticket tools like Loop can be an easy means of checking whether students have understood lesson content, while also prompting  (and promoting) student reflection.

2. Google Forms

Educators can set up exit tickets with varying question types and submit requests to participate via email or sharable link. Recent upgrades now allow questions to include images and YouTube links. All participants will have their responses populate a single spreadsheet. Educators will be able to review every single exit ticket on the same document.

3. Socrative

Socrative lets educators assess their students with educational activities on tablets, laptops, or smartphones (ideal for BYOD environments). Through the use of real-time questioning, educators and students alike can visualize the data to make decisions about upcoming learning.

4. Hand signals

Okay, this one isn’t a digital tool but using hand signals to quickly ‘take the temperature’ of the class is likely already in the toolkit of most teachers. Even a basic ‘thumbs up if you get it, thumbs sideways if you halfway there, and thumbs down if you’re lost’ provides instant ‘formative assessment data’ for teachers. Of course, this is self-assessment, which means you’re depending on their ability to self-evaluate but that’s a skill that can be developed over time as well.

5. Plickers

While using Plicker cards, students are able to provide answers to their teacher’s questions. The educator can use a smartphone or tablet to capture student responses and the app collects and reports the data.

6. Flipgrid

If you want to assess students through video prompts–by asking them to create short summaries, 3-2-1 (3 things I remember, 2 questions I have, and 1 thing I found interesting, etc.), Flipgrid is an easy way to create and share videos while also controlling visibility and privacy.

Here are some more ideas for using Flipgrid in the classroom.

7. IXL

You can read more about how to use IXL here but in short, it’s an adaptive learning platform that’s content-based–meaning the content and lessons are there and as a teacher, you’d simply assign (or have students self-select) content to assess their understanding of said content.

8. Kahoot

Game-based formative assessment for the win?

9. Google Classroom

While it may not be the quickest way to get data in real-time (depending on the teaching and learning model being used), Google Classroom is certainly popular and if you use it, having the questions and data and class rosters all right there in one place definitely makes life simpler for you as a teacher.

10. VoiceThread

VoiceThread allows educators and students to discuss documents, presentations, images, audio files, and videos using numerous methods. Students are able to add audio, text, or video responses for a media-centric assessment experience.

11. Padlet

Similar to lino, Padlet is an online shared space students can post notes, multimedia files, hyperlinks, and documents on. Educators are also able to adjust privacy settings to ensure student safety.

Of course, there are hundreds of additional digital tools or strategies connected educators could use for administering an exit ticket to students that are not listed here. Please add a comment with some of the digital tools you use for your classroom exit tickets.

12. Mentimeter

Mentimeter allows for the use of interactive presentations with real-time polling of students as you teach. Though they have a free account tier, it’s limited to only two questions per presentation. However, their ‘Education Basic’ plan is only $6.99/month and Education Pro is $14.99. You can find more details at the links above.

13. Dotstorming

According to the developers, Dotstorming is a “space for real-time group brainstorming and decision-making.”

14. EdPuzzle

Developer Description: “Choose a video, give it your magic touch, and track your students’ comprehension.”

15. Twitter

Ideal for older students, educators can ask students to post a 280 character summary of today’s lesson and allow the discussion to transpire after the class has officially ended. You can anchor the response using your own personalized hashtag so it’s searchable later. Obviously, the downside here is student privacy concerns–not to mention that they’re on twitter (with all of the inherent distractions). To use twitter for formative assessment would require a fairly niche circumstance.

16. GoFormative

If you don’t have your own content, simply grab a formative from our public library of 1000s of pre-made formatives. Feel free to edit any question details to make it right for your students. Once you have something you’d like to assign to your students, it only takes a click. Then, share login info, a link, or guest code for your students to join in and let the fun begin.

17. Pear Deck

Among the other benefits of this popular teaching tool are the integrations with other tools, including Google or Microsoft-based digital teaching tools.

18. Poll Everywhere

Bonus: Crowd Signal

*previously published at TeachThought.com

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