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best formative assessment tools

Every teacher is looking for the best ways to succeed in their mission in order to be good at what they do and in order to have successful students. The most effective way to do this is to use formative assessment tools. Let’s talk about them!

What is a formative assessment tool?

A formative assessment tool is used to assess students learning. The goal is to adjust the instructional strategies and the lesson plan so that every student has the best chance to succeed and really learn. It is carried out throughout the students learning process, and certainly not at the beginning or at the end. For educators, these assessment techniques are made to check the students understanding and adapt to each one of them. The goals of these assessment strategies are also to know if students are applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. This is a way to figure out if they have learnt and if they can apply what they have learnt. There are so many direct and indirect ways to ask for students’ feedback and to ask if they have understood or not. It is not just about asking questions, but also making them participate, react, play, speak, write, etc.

Which tool to choose?

There are so many tools for formative assessment and some of them are very common and simple. The success criteria can be evaluated by using them. As students are not all the same, teachers have to find a common ground. They can all use signs to let the instructor know what they are up to:
• I’m completely lost
• Slow down, I’m struggling a bit
• I’ve got it, it’s all good
These signs can be yes/no cards, color cards, 1-2-3 fingers, thumbs up or down. To make students practice what they have learnt, things can be facilitated by movement techniques such as:
• Talk Show Panel: students are assigned a position to defend on a specific topic
• Turn and Talk: The teacher ask something about the topic and every student have to talk about it with the one beside him or her
• Carousel Brainstorm: a topic is written on a large paper and every student write ideas turn by turn. At the end, they discuss the findings

Arts and writing can also be used for the same goal!

How about web tools?

The web offers a panel of tools which are used for backchanneling creating interactive videos, creating interactive lessons, quizzing and polling. The backchanneling tools are used to stimulate students’ responses and feedbacks. Socrative, iClicker, Plickers are among the best ones than can be used on smartphones and computers. They facilitate the question-answer interaction between teacher and students. PlayPosit, EDpuzzle and VideoAnt do the same but with interactive videos. They make it easier to track students’ comprehension and allow teacher to add annotations and comments below the videos. The tools for creating interactive lessons are perfect for online classes. Google Classroom, Spiral and GoClass are some examples. Nearpod helps teachers create quizzes, polls, open-ended questions and videos as well. And for those who really appreciate Quizzes and polls, Poll Everywhere, AnswerGarden and Google Forms are recommended! It is up to you to choose!

John

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