Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Simple Formative Assessment

I am always looking for an easy way to digitally complete formative assessment for teachers.  It seems like there are always so many different hoops to jump through to get to the actual assessment piece and so when my friend Tim Childers tweeted out about Formative, a great tool for collecting live formative results from students, I investigated.  (Actually, for most people who know Tim, we all listen when he Tweets, posts or otherwise makes his digital mark.  It is always good and you should all follow him here @tchilders.)

Formative assessment is loosely defined as assessment used to collect feedback that guide the lesson, and learning for the students.  Generally they are low stakes assessments that help personalize and support the flow of the instruction.  With that in mind, Formative is a tool for collecting information that helps the teacher better know what students need.

One unique feature of Formative is that it allows for personal responses in the form of written responses, drawings or even through the submission of an image.  With the ability for a student to submit an image or drawing it opens opportunity for creative unique responses that are otherwise hard to collect. A sample of the tutorial drawn responses is shown below.

With Formative teachers will be able to view live results of the students as they work in class.  Another great feature is the ability to share an assessment with other teachers.
Upon logging in as a teacher you are presented with the Formative dashboard and a tutorial and sample assessments to help you get going.  Formative also has this great Google Doc to walk you through their product.  Formative has a channel on YouTube full of various topics in which you can learn all you need to know.  They are very well done and brief enough to allow you to select only those that you need to get going.  The introductory video is here and should give you a great overview.

Formative's claim is that the tool works on any platform.  I have not tried it on all devices but I would guess that some forms of entry, such as drawing a response, would be easier on a tablet device than a Chromebook or computer.  Additionally, it is important to know that Formative's Privacy Policy requests that if a child in under the age of 13 that consent is obtained by a parent or guardian.

I am really excited to see how Formative can be used in various classrooms.  Please share or comment if you are or have used it!

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