10 Ways to Provide Formative Assessments in a Virtual Classroom

“Students need endless feedback more than they need endless teaching.” Grant Wiggins

Formative assessments are a fundamental part of teaching. They help teachers determine where gaps are in students learning and provides data to inform instruction. Formative assessments also help students because they increase engagement and provide students with ownership in their learning. Formative assessments should be consistently in educators practices as it is a great way to provide feedback to students on their learning journey.

Formative assessments can easily be added into any virtual learning environment. Below I share five strategies and five digital formative assessment tools that can support your teaching virtually.

5 Formative Assessment Strategies

Mad Lib Tasks: Mad Libs are fill-in-the-blank sentences, series of sentences or stories. In education, Mab Lib tasks helps teachers and students quickly assess which questions/concept/skills they do or don’t understand. If you wanted to assess a students understand of motion (speed, velocity, acceleration, deceleration, reference point) and forces (gravity, friction, centripetal force) here is an example of a Mab Lib: Force can make an object ____, ____, _____ or _____. The student would have to fill in stop, speed up, slow down or change direction. (Hint: You can also provide a bank of terms if you want to as well).

3, 2, 1: At the end of a lesson, provide students with three prompts to reflect on such as 3 facts you learned, 2 things that surprised you, 1 thing you have a question about. They can write this on a Google Doc and submit it to you or it could be in a discussion thread so students can learn from each other.

3 Question Quiz: My students loved this one! I would ask them to come up with three questions that they think would be on the test with an answer key ( so they had to show their thinking/work). This allowed me to see who might need a reteach or had a misconception and then I used some of their questions on the quiz! They loved seeing their questions and I liked the time it saved me of creating the quiz!

Numbers: Formative assessments can be as easy as having students self assess how they feel about a concept/standard/skill. Posting a likert scale can help you gage where they are: 1 – I need more help, 2 – I think I got it but might have a question, 3 – I can teach others. Once you have a safe learning environment you can have students share via flashing a number signal up on the screen or you can have them send the numbers privately to you via the chat function.

Entrance/Exit Ticket: Quickly see what the students know or don’t know by providing a few questions for them to answer. This is something you can have up at the beginning of class as students are entering the virtual classroom or at the end. You can utilize some of the digital tools below to support you with tickets too.

5 FREE Formative Assessment Tools

Jamboard: This is a great interactive whiteboard tool that saves your work right to your google drive. Give your students a check out questions or word problem, have them show their work and submit the assignment. This is a great way to make their thinking visible so teachers can provide feedback. You can also use this tool to share realtime whiteboard work by sharing your screen.

Classflow: This powerful tool supports virtual learning from instruction to assessment. There are polls, quizzes and interactive whiteboards you can use to assess students knowledge.

Edulastic: Standard based formative assessment tool that has a great assessment bank but you also make up your own questions as well.

Padlet: I love this tool because it is so versatile and often under utilized. It is a great way to what students are thinking but having students show what they know by having them create on a padlet is a great way to assess their thinking. For example having students create a story timeline of the main points.

Flip Grid: A simple way for students and teachers to create online discussions via video. Great for posing a question and having students respond to hear their thinking but giving them time to process too.

More resources on formative assessments:

Top Tech Tools by Common Sense Education

3 reasons to use formative assessment in your virtual instruction—and tips on how to go about it

How to do Formative Assessment in Distance Learning

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