During the pandemic and quarantine, I had the opportunity to spend some time exploring the tools that I just never quite got around to. Have you heard of Formative? Oh, you need to know about this one!

Formative is amazing. It’s purpose is to allow teachers to assess students understanding in real-time, while allowing them to provide real-time, useful feedback. Teachers create interactive activities for their students, in the form of do-nows, classwork, tests, quizzes, exit-tickets, etc. While students are completing the tasks, the teacher gets a live look at exactly what each student is doing via the teacher dashboard! Fun, yes. Amazing technology, yes. But more importantly, this gives the teacher the opportunity to intervene when necessary. 

The Formative platform allows teachers to message students right within their questions/assignments. So as a student is working, they might receive a message from their teacher reminding them where to find certain information, or asking them to double-check their work. This is the kind of useful feedback that students need in order to improve, rather than getting feedback after they have finished all of their work. 

When creating a Formative assessment/assignment, there are several types of questions that can be created:

formative questions

As you can see, some question types are only available with a premium subscription, but the questions available in the free account have been more than enough for me! (There are also some really creative workarounds for those types of questions you don’t have access to, but want… I will cover that in another post.) My absolute favorite question type is show your work – think of it as a blank canvas where students can include any type of text, drawing, diagram, picture, etc. that they need to demonstrate their understanding.

Here’s an example of one of my show your work questions. There are no limits to the ways in which students could answer the question:

show your work

As you can see, the students have a toolbar available the them with writing and drawing tools, a big canvas in which to show their work, and a panel to refer back to the question.

Student responses looked something like this:

show your work

And what does the teacher see? Everything. Formative gives the option to view one student at a time, or the whole class, or one question at a time, or a whole assignments data. Here is an example of what I saw when watching my class complete a question about infographic design:

formative live view

Formative has an option to autocorrect certain question types, like multiple choice, true or false, and multiple selection. Obviously with other types, like essays, you will have to do some of the correcting yourself. But Formative gives a live overview of how students are doing throughout the whole assessment. A quick glance can show you where students are struggling and where they are excelling. Did I mention all of the questions can also be linked to your standards, to track growth towards those, as well?

formative class data

If you want to explore this Formative that I’ve been using in my examples more, here is the link.  I could go on for hours about the benefits of using Formative. I think it’s better to let you explore it yourself, and then revisit my blog for a series of smaller posts about the different features available! One last thing: it integrates seamlessly with Google Classroom – yes!


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