Formative (aka GoFormative) is my go-to tool for quick and easy formative assessments (not ideal or meant for summative assessments). It’s quick and easy for teacher and students to use. Both the setup and its use are fairly easy. See how-to page.

I most often use Formative to ask reading comprehension questions. Students typically get a paper copy of the reading that they can write on and read again later without having to use a computer. They read the text silently and individually and respond to comprehension questions. Once everyone’s gotten a chance to respond individually, I close the assignment in Formative, and we review the answers as a class and discuss more interesting questions based on the reading.

I just learned that you can embed audio clips. More on that later!

Pluses

  • Grading typed responses is so much easier than handwritten ones.
    • I especially like to use Command + F (aka Control + F) to find and highlight keywords.
  • You can see everyone’s responses to one question on the same page, which makes grading that question quick and easy.
  • You can watch results in real time.
    • From the summary view, you can see how close everyone is to completing the assignment.
    • You can see if someone misread the directions.
  • You can upload a pdf of an already made quiz. The text, directions and prompts/questions are already ready.
  • Students can sign in with their GAfE accounts.
  • It’s easy to adjust point values.
    • In summary view, if I see a column of mostly red answers I can lower the point value of that question.

Minuses

  • The opening and closing of response boxes attached to pdf quizzes is awkward, and inevitably someone forgets to open a response box and leaves it blank.
  • You can’t ask multiple select questions.

Good-to-knows

  • You can’t schedule an assigned task. In the assign menu, you have to manually turn it off and on.
    • If you turn the assignment on before students come to class, they can see the questions before class.
    • Before students leave the room, you have to turn the assignment off if you don’t want students to change their answers.
    • You can’t hide assignment from absent students.
    • There are no timestamps so you can’t see when someone started or completed an assignment or made changes after you’ve graded it.
  • After your grade it, you can turn the assignment back on and from the pull-down menu select “Closed with scoring” so that students can see their grades and responses.