One of the benefits of working in a 1:1 environment is the ease with which a teacher can assign, collect, and analyze formative assessments. Done at the beginning or end of class, formative assessments can take no more than a few minutes but can yield enormous benefits for teachers and students alike.* Teachers can learn in minutes whether students “got” the lesson, and in many cases, students can learn in the same amount of time what they (mis)understood. Teachers can use this information to immediately tweak instruction for the benefit of the students rather than waiting perhaps weeks to find out that the students really didn’t understand that very important concept and went on to fail a large portion of a unit test. Since such assessments are given online, there’s no paper to shuffle or file, and results are instantaneous with very little work on the teacher’s part.
The following is a list of sites that can be used to create online formative assessments of various kinds such as multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions. All are FREE, but some have different capabilities than others, so it’s best to play around with each. For instance, some will give you results for each individual student, while others will give overall results for the entire class. Once you know how to use these sites, you can create a couple of questions quickly, even at the spur of the moment. This is particularly useful when you suspect a lesson is not going well but you want to double-check the students.
7. Google Docs
*Some teachers argue that unless they attach a grade to a given assignment, many students will not complete the assignment. Formative assessments, however, are not meant to be graded for accuracy because they are meant to gauge understanding rather than monitor mastery of learning. If you run into the problem of not all students completing the formative assessment, I would suggest that you assign points for completion/participation. Or just don’t tell the students it isn’t for a grade and let them make the assumption. Give some participation points for some formative assessments and not others. The point is to keep the kids on their toes!