In previous posts, I’ve discussed the keys to effective assessment and some tools that can be used to make that happen (see Google Forms & Game-Based Learning and The Right Way to Quiz Is…) There are a number of other resources though that can be used to facilitate formative and summative assessments in multiple formats. Here are a few that I have used.
On assessment: measure what you value instead of valuing only what you can measure
Student Response Systems
If you’re looking to give a quiz or just a quick response to a question, these response systems can help you automate and incentivize the process.
Google Forms – In addition to pre-made templates for worksheets, quizzes, and exit tickets, Forms provides instant data with built-in grading for multiple choice and text responses. There are also helpful charts to visualize data. I’ve discussed it more deeply in a previous post. Microsoft has its own version, but it’s still playing catch up with Google.
Quizizz – This is probably my favorite game-based response system for my special needs students since it allows for read-aloud questions, easier 1 to 1 correspondence of questions and answers, as well as a number of other modifications. It’s also synced with Google Classroom and Edmodo.
Kahoot – This is the fun assessment that most teachers already know about. Don’t let my affinity for Quizizz dissuade you from using Kahoot. Even though it doesn’t have some of the accessibility features I would like it does have a far greater selection of pre-made assessments including higher-order questioning through the new jumble sorting game. They also allow for discussions and surveys.
Quizlet Live – I’ll discuss Quizlet more in the content and assessment section since it is more of a study platform, but the new live portion is very similar to Quizizz and Kahoot except that it has the nice feature of putting students into teams for the work.
Formative – This site could fit into the content portion as you can post videos, whiteboards, and web content. I put it here though because it is known for its student response capabilities where you can create all of the assessments similar to Google Forms as well as higher order questions that allow students to sequence, graph, categorize, show their work, and respond with audio.
Socrative – This is another multi-device system that can be used live or as a homework assignment. The types of questions are limited to multiple choice, true/false, or short answer. The space race option creates a fun game-based assessment similar to those seen in QUizlet and Kahoot.
Plickers – This is a great tool for classrooms that don’t have a 1:1 device environment. It only requires one mobile device and possibly a display screen. It uses printable answer cards that look a lot like QR codes. Students hold up their card to represent their selection and the teacher quickly scans the room with their phone that takes in the student answers. The even outline red/green as you scan them to indicate which students responded correctly. The data is populated on the site. I modify the pages to have larger answer letters
The are a few other sites that are worthy of mention as well. Survey Monkey is a well-known polling site. Poll Everywhere and Mentimeter are good for quickly monitoring understanding. Poll Everywhere even has a shared space for posting ideas and open-ended responses. ClassPager leverages student devices and their affinity for texting to garner quick responses.
Another way to gauge student learning is through general discussion. Using digital platforms can help to make that process more engaging for students and easier for a teacher to assess. Here are a few different formats you can
Padlet – This is probably my favorite collaboration space that makes it easy to share text, pictures, videos, and a number of other file types. That means it can be used with students at a variety of levels. It also allows for various privacy options for the security of your students.
Backchannel Conversations – There are a few sites that will give you a room for digital discussions and backchannel conversations in the midst of class. Amongst these are Todays Meet and Chatzy which can function as a companion to or replacement for classroom discussion. You can also create exit tickets or set up student conversations for after class. Backchannel Chat functions like a teacher-moderated version of Twitter which allows for tagged and searchable chats.
GoSoapBox – This site sets up an event page where quizzes, polls, and discussions. The confusion meter is a nice way for students to keep you updated on whether they’re understanding instruction.
Video Conversations – The newest, most interactive, and accessible way to engage classroom conversations is in using video conversation platforms like Flipgrid and Recap. Flipgrid offers a number of extra features like video stickers, automatic video transcription, and embedding documents and pictures to your grid. Recap also allows text conversations in addition to video as well as import of supporting resources through their journeys feature.
Content & Assessment
There are a plethora of sites that offer educational content along with multiple assessment formats. Here are a few that I find noteworthy.
Nearpod – This is the go-to site for shared display in a 1:1 device environment. In addition to easily pushing curriculum through importing your own lessons from a number of compatible resources, you can also access their large library of professionally made content. They are also partnered with many other ed-tech companies that make it easy to share content across platforms using Google CLassroom, Remind, or Canvas. Share content using some of the new display tools like Sway, VR, & 3D. They also have a large variety of assessment tools as well including multiple choice, polls, open-ended questions, matching, fill in the blanks, drawing tools, and a shared space for collaborating in a shared space.
SMART Response 2 & SMART LAB – So SMART Notebook is the dominant whiteboard software with good reason, but SMART has created several tools for assessment also. SMART Response 2 is their basic tool for quizzes, polls and short responses. SMART LAB is a fun game-based assessment tool that gives you a variety of options from jeopardy-style trivia to sorting, matching, diagrams, a collaborative space, and more. Some of the assessments can be shared across devices and some are meant to be displayed on an interactive display.
Classflow – This is Promethean’s entry into the fray that pairs many of the features of whiteboard software with Nearpod like sharing and assessment tools. One of it’s best features is its ability to create student groups and differentiate your instruction so that you can simultaneously display general information on the board, advanced work on one group’s devices, and more remedial work on a second (or third or fourth..) group’s devices.
Pear Deck – This is another shared device presentation software with dragging (tracking student touch/mouse), drawing, extended text, and multiple choice amongst its response options. One of the bonuses for Pear Deck is that it is conveniently linked to Google Slides, so it is easier to create a more dynamic presentation.
Quizlet – This is the best site around for studying flashcards since it allows you to study and test terms/ideas in multiple ways from matching to review. There is also a fun gravity game that will take you through your study sets. They now also have Quizlet Diagrams which help students visualize their study material and review it in a new way. what they’re learning in a whole new way.
Classcraft – This game-based behavior management tool also assesses students. The Boss Battles allow for a classwide formative review where students battle a foe by answering correctly to land critical strikes without taking too many hits themselves. If successful they can be showered with gold and experience. Now there are also Classcraft Quests which allow a teacher to gamify all of their content as well.
More Content – BrainPOP has wonderful content videos, quizzes, and printable assessments, but their game-based assessments and digital PBL tools make them even more valuable. Flocabulary presents content through hip-hop videos and assesses with quizzes, vocabulary work, longer read and respond questions, and song creation tools where students can thoroughly demonstrate their understanding of a topic. Discovery Education and PBS Learning Media also have videos along with a great deal of other content and teachers can create assignments, web pages, and projects for students to show what they know.
Assessment is today’s means of modifying tomorrow’s instruction.
-Carol Ann Tomlinson