6 Fantastic Formative Assessment Tools for Quick Feedback

When we know what our kids know, instruction runs smoother.
We know when it’s OK to skip forward because students are solid on that content.
We know when to pump the brakes because we’re getting those confused looks.
We know what little parts of a lesson are causing problems even though the kids get the majority of it.

With instant assessment and feedback, we can know all of these things. But assessment doesn’t have to equal quizzes, tests or worksheets. We can get that feedback data quickly -- and in a really fun way! -- with some great digital formative assessment tools.

Here are some to check out. Find the one that works best for you and give it a shot!

1. Quizdom Oktopus/Ximbus -- If you have a ViewSonic® ViewBoard® interactive flat panel in your classroom and have access to Oktopus and Ximbus, this offers a new level of interaction. Oktopus lets you connect what you’re doing on your ViewBoard to what students are doing on their devices. For example, use Oktopus to create a poll and share it with your students. Then display the results immediately on the ViewBoard. The sharing and collaboration features let students annotate on any webpage or application and share it with the teacher and the class.

Ximbus is a lesson management tool, letting you run media-rich lessons live. It also lets students do self-guided lessons on their own. Do quick polls and even use the “Eyes Up” button to bring student attention back to the front of the classroom.

If you’re looking for tools that let you get the most out of your ViewBoard and your interactions with students, Oktopus and Ximbus are definitely worth checking out here: Oktopus and Ximbus bundle.

2. Formative -- Formative lets you create digital assignments that you can deliver to your students. From there, you can watch your teacher dashboard as students complete their work in real time.

Formative empowers you to:

• Create questions (multiple choice, true/false, short answer and drawn “show your work” questions) to deliver to students

• Add other content to the questions (an image, text, a whiteboard doodle or a YouTube video)

• Leave real-time feedback in the form of a grade and a written comment.

Use formative to create quick assignments and quizzes, let students draw answers to reading comprehension questions, and more. You can upload a document or PDF file of an old assignment and assign it digitally through Formative -- and formative will grade the answers! It integrates easily with Google Classroom too.
Looking for other ways to use Formative?
Check out this blog post: 20 ways to use Formative for awesome assessment.

3. Quizizz -- Have you played Kahoot! with your students? Most teachers I work with are pretty familiar with it. Quizizz is a twist on the same idea, and some of its different features make it worth checking out.
With Quizizz, you ask students multiple choice questions and they answer with their devices, just like Kahoot!. The quicker they answer correctly, the more points they earn. However, there are a few key differences between Quizizz and Kahoot!:

• Questions and answers are displayed on the student device with Quizizz. This makes for a more student-paced game. If you’ve ever had a student left in the dust by the fast pace of a Kahoot! game, this doesn’t happen as much in Quizizz.

• Quizizz games don’t have to be completed synchronously like in Kahoot!. You can even assign them to be completed over the next 24 hours. This can be done through Google Classroom as well.Looking for some more information about Quizizz?
Check out this blog post I wrote comparing a few formative assessment tools.

4. Flipgrid -- Flipgrid lets you quickly and easily hear from your students through video quickly. Many older students have turned to Snapchat and Instagram to share quick videos with their friends and family. Why not give students a voice through a medium they already use?

Flipgrid lets the teacher pose a question or prompt. Then, students respond to it by recording quick videos (90 seconds or less). In the free version, students click the “+” button and record their videos, shoot a quick photo of themselves for the grid, and post it. With a premium Flipgrid Classroom account, students can reply to each other’s posts with a video.

Once you get started using Flipgrid, you might be surprised at how often students view each other’s videos -- even outside of class -- if you give them prompts that they’re interested in.

Flipgrid has a fantastic community on Twitter -- #flipgridfever -- where teachers are constantly sharing ways they’re using this phenomenal tool.
Find 15+ ways to use Flipgrid in the classroom in this blog post.

5. Classkick -- Want to see what students are working on in your assignments? That’s what Classkick was built for. Its slogan: Feedback better, faster, together. Here’s how it works:

• Create a digital assignment through Classkick with a variety of questions.

• Add drawings, text, images, audio, links and videos to your assignment.

• Students answer using their devices, inputting drawings, text, images or audio to respond.

• You watch in real time, giving students immediate feedback. Students can even give each other anonymous feedback.

There’s plenty of flexibility for creating assignments, and students can respond on any Internet-ready device.
Learn more about Classkick in this one-minute video.

6. Quizlet Live -- The other options on this list are great for gathering individual data and providing feedback. They aren’t the best for helping students to collaboratively work together to answer questions and solve problems.

Hands down, the best tool for assessing students in groups is Quizlet Live.

Quizlet Live works off Quizlet flashcards. Quizlet has been around for a long time, and there are tons of flashcard sets that you can find that others have created. If you want to create your own flashcard set, it’s quick and easy.

Once your set of flashcards is ready, load it up and click the “Live” button. Students join the game on their own devices.

Then, Quizlet Live sorts them into small groups. When the game starts, students have to answer questions, but not every student has all the possible answers. Quizlet Live gives a few answers to each student, and each student has different possible answers. The group has to work together to figure out which group member has the correct answer on his/her screen before answering.

When you play a group game on the other options on this list, generally one or two students do all the work. With Quizlet Live, everyone is participating, and everyone is working together.

Want to see all the pros and cons of Quizlet Live?

Check out this blog post, and scroll down to the Quizlet Live section.


Matt Miller is a blogger, speaker and author of Ditch That Textbook: Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom. He writes at the Ditch That Textbook blog about using technology and creative ideas in teaching. Reach him at matt@DitchThatTextbook.com or on Twitter at @jmattmiller.