Sunday, January 27, 2013

Formative Assessment with Technology

In my district, we are investing time and resources into creating quality PLCs at all levels. Time is being spent unpacking standards, assessing students, and analyzing data. Student data comes in many forms and is collected in a variety of ways. In my opinion, the most powerful data comes from the formative assessment that is happening in our classrooms. With quality formative assessments, teachers can make timely instructional decisions for all their students. Technology can play a huge role in the formative assessment process.

In preparing for a district webinar, I have been looking at and soliciting feedback from my peers about a variety of technology resources that support formative assessment. While probably not a complete list, these resources are an asset to quality formative assessment in your classroom.

Google Forms
Exit slips have always been a great formative assessment tool. Utilizing a Google form instead of paper allows you to more easily look at the data, saving you time and providing a better way to look at data trends.  A Google form can be embedded on a website or it can simply be a link. Students can access this exit slip in class or it could be something they access at home once an assignment is completed. This exit slip data is now all in one easy to read spreadsheet that you can analyze quickly. I recommend creating a generic exit slip form that you can use over and over. Once you are done with this formative data, it can be erased and the form can be used again. See the video below to setup a Google form.

Answer Garden - 
Answer Garden is an easy to use feedback board that requires no user account and minimal setup. This makes it great for formative assessment. A teacher just needs to go to Answer Garden, click on "create an answer garden", and enter a question or statement. Once a few other options are selected, the user clicks on create. Now your Answer Garden is ready to use. Students will need the URL so it will need to be posted for them. Students can then respond in a maximum of 20 characters. The short character limit does not allow students to give complete answers but this resource could be used for students to give their feelings about a subject.

Socrative -
Socrative is a great tool for formative assessment. It can be used on the fly or assessments can be created before a lesson. This flexibility allows teachers to use Socrative in a variety of ways. Another advantage of using Socrative is the accompanying student and teacher app. These apps allow the teacher to control everything from their phone or it allows the students to use their mobile devices (IOS and Android) to answer. No smartphone, no problem. Socrative also works with your computer using any browser. Learn how to use Socrative in your classroom by taking a tour through Socrative with the video below.

Infuselearning - 
Infuselearning is a tool that is very similar to Socrative. With Infuselearning, teachers can assess students on the fly or create assessments ahead of time. Students are able to respond to a variety of questions, including the exclusive draw response where students can answer the question with a picture. Although it does not have its own app, students can use a computer, tablet, or smart phone to respond to questions. The only exception to this will be students trying to use Internet Explorer. Learn how to use Infuselearning for formative assessment by watching the video below.

SharePoint Survey
For districts that use Microsoft SharePoint, the survey tool could be used as a formative assessment tool. Teachers using SharePoint can create a survey with formative assessment questions. Students would log into the teacher's websites and respond to the survey questions. Once completed, the results can be downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet for easy analysis. With this data, the teacher can make informed decisions about instruction.

All of these resources are great tools for formative assessment. Each has its own strengths, weaknesses, and uses. Check them out and use them in your classroom.

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