Tech Tools: Formative Assessment

By Monica Burns 07.07.2014 blog

Assessments are an important way to gather information but teachers know that they’re not isolated to the end of the school year or a unit of study. Formative assessments take place in classrooms everyday as educators work to figure out which students understand a concept and which ones need extra practice. In the past teachers may have used an exit slip, pop quiz, or checklist to collect information on students progress. There are now a handful of powerful technology tools that are transforming the way students gather information.


Available on iOS and Android devices, as well as a web platform, Socrative is a fantastic tool for BYOD and one to one programs. It gives teachers the power to create assessments in advance or on the fly to see how well their students understand a concept. Using a unique code students can access a quiz full of short response and multiple choice questions without having to create a login. They simply type in their name, answer a set of questions, and their teacher collects the data.

Poll Everywhere

Another great choice for students in a BYOD and one to one program, Poll Everywhere is a web based tool lets student respond to a question using a smart device. They answer anonymously however it gives the teacher a quick read of the room. This way they’ll know if they need to review a concept, move on, or revisit something from a previous lesson.

The Answer Pad

Similar to Socrative, The Answer Pad has an iOS app and web based tool that lets teachers push questions to their students screen. They can draw a picture, circle the correct place on a timeline, or plot points on a graph. There are lots of extra features to gather information on student understanding including a thumbs up/down and more formal assessment options.


A great way to monitor student progress and make sure that they are on track is to have students take screenshots of their work. Teens can take a screenshot of what they’ve completed during a class period and email or share it with their teacher. Teachers will be able to see who needs extra help and which students are on the right tracks.


A terrific choice for teachers looking to keep student work organized in addition to conducting formative assessments, Edmodo is a dynamic platform for students. Teachers can set up their classes and pose questions and polls to teens to figure out how they are progressing during a unit. Students can also take quizzes, participate in discussions, and submit their work through Edmodo.

No matter what type of tool you use, formative assessments are important for collecting student data and designing lessons. There are a handful of iPad and Android apps in addition to web platforms that will transform the way you gather information in a BYOD or one-to-one learning environment.

Have you tried out any of these formative assessment tools with your students? Share in the comments section below!

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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