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Formative assessment allows you to evaluate students’ performance in real-time, and also improve the course content and delivery during the learning process. It makes it easier for teachers to track the performance of students during a course or training program.

Since formative assessment happens on the go, it is best described as a quick-fire method of monitoring the learner's progress. To do this, the researcher needs to ask different questions and administer multiple class exercises to get valuable feedback from the students. 

What is Formative Assessment?

Formative assessment is a process of evaluating the students’ knowledge as they learn. It is a method of on-going assessment and it involves putting together a series of quick-fire questions and exercises to help you monitor the learner’s progress during the course. 

As students learn, they will experience challenges along the way—they may find it difficult to understand a concept or to grasp a few examples. Without formative assessments, it is almost impossible for the teacher to recognize when the student is struggling and to provide the right support. 

struggling-student-formative-assessment

Unlike summative assessment that happens at the end of a course, formative assessment tracks the student’s knowledge level on the go. Since it doesn’t measure the student’s knowledge against some standard, it is typically considered as having a low or no point value. 

Characteristics of Formative Assessment 

Understanding the characteristics of formative assessment enables you to plan and execute one effectively as an instructor. For instance, knowing that formative assessment and learning happen concurrently will help you avoid waiting till the end of a course before evaluating your students. 

Other things you should know about formative assessment include:

  1. It evaluates the learning process and the learner’s progress at the same time. 
  2. A formative assessment is collaborative as it measures the student’s progress and the effectiveness of the teaching method.
  3. Formative assessments are interwoven with the ongoing teaching and learning process.
  4. It is a fluid method of evaluation. The student’s progress is not measured against a standard or benchmark unlike what you will find with summative assessment methods. 
  5. Formative assessment requires the instructors and the students to become intentional learners. 
  6. The aim of formative assessment is to gather actionable feedback that improves the overall teaching and learning process.  
  7. It is a diagnostic method of evaluation. 
  8. Results from formative assessments are immediately made available. 
  9. Formative assessments are non-graded.

Examples of Formative Assessment 

  • Impromptu Quiz

After a lesson, you can ask students to take part in an impromptu quiz to know how well they understood the course material. An easy way to do this is by creating a short online quiz with relevant close-ended questions using Formplus. 

online-quiz

A poll is a way to gather instant feedback from students as they learn by asking the right questions. Formplus allows you to create simple and fun polls that help you to evaluate your students' knowledge as part of formative assessment. 

With multiple form field options, you can have different types of rating questions in your poll including heart and emoji ratings. Formplus also has an automatic poll closing option; making it easier for you to integrate the online polls into the overall teaching and learning process. 

  • One Minute Papers

Another way to assess students' knowledge on the go is by asking them to create simple one-minute papers; they can do this online with Formplus. You can create a simple 1-minute survey with open-ended questions and ask your students to share their knowledge within a particular context. 

  • Entry Slips

Before starting off on a new topic or lesson, you can ask one or more questions to know how much the students remember from the previous lesson. You can edit any of our online surveys and list differentiated questions for the students to respond to. 

  • Exit Slips

Exit slips are used to measure the students' progress at the end of the lesson. Ask learners to write some of the points they remember from the lesson on scrap paper or create a simple online questionnaire on Formplus to collect relevant responses from students. 

If you hosted the class on e-learning platforms like Google Classroom and Edulastic, you can track what your students know at a glance and also measure their progress, in line with the teaching and learning goals. 

  • Dipsticks

Think of these as easy and quick methods to know how well the learners understand different concepts discussed in class. You can ask learners to write short letters explaining core concepts to another person or do a think-pair-share exercise with a partner.

  • Visual Exercises

Ask students to interpret core ideas from the course using simple visual representations. They can create basic sketches of what they have learned or you can create a simple survey and ask them to choose the most appropriate visual representation from the image options in your Formplus form. 

  • Interviews and Focus Groups

At specific intervals during the class, you can organize quick interviews and focus groups to assess the students. These can be in the form of casual discussions with the learners or 10-minutes structured interviews using an online survey or questionnaire. Organizing and focus groups can provide better contexts for the assessment. 

  • Tag Feedback

This is a peer assessment method where the students evaluate and provide feedback on each other's performance. As students assess their peers, you gain valuable insights into how well they understand the course material and topic(s).

Tag feedback is an effective way to get the students involved in formative assessment. Ask learners to highlight the positive contributions of their peers, or to suggest ways to improve the course content, teaching method, or overall classroom engagement. 

One of the best ways to conduct formative assessments is to simply ask the students to do it themselves while you provide the needed guidance. When students evaluate themselves, they can reflect on their learning goals and discover their strengths and weaknesses. 

How to Use Formplus to Conduct Formative Assessment 

As a seamless data collection tool, Formplus allows you to create effective forms, questionnaires, and surveys for formative assessment. It has multiple form features and templates; making it easy for you to assess students' knowledge as you engage with them in the classroom. 

Create your questionnaire for formative assessment with these easy steps: 

  • Log into your Formplus dashboard and click the “create new form” button at the top of the dashboard. If you do not have a Formplus account, visit www.formpl.us and follow the prompt to create one. 

  • In the form builder, add the title of your online questionnaire to the title box.

  • Drag and drop preferred form fields from the form fields section into your questionnaire. You can choose from more than 30 form field options located on the left side of the builder. 

  • Click on the pencil icon beside each field to include your question(s) and option(s), if any. You can also make the field required or read-only. 

  • Click on the “save icon” for all the changes you’ve made to your assessment questionnaire. When you do this, you will automatically access the form customization section. 
  • Use multiple form customization options to change the look and feel of your questionnaire. You can change the background color to your brand hue and add your organization’s logo to the questionnaire. 

  • Click on the form sharing option and choose any of the options to share your questionnaire with learners for formative assessment. Formplus allows you to send out email invitations, share the form directly on social media, and also add it to your website. 

  • Monitor responses in our form analytics dashboard.

Now, let's talk about some of the features that make Formplus a great formative assessment tool. 

1. Mobile-friendly Forms

Smartphones have become indispensable learning tools and this is why your formative assessment needs to go mobile too. With our mobile-friendly forms, you can conduct formative assessments and track students' progress using mobile phone surveys and forms. 

Formplus allows you to create custom mobile forms that can be viewed and filled out on any internet-enabled device on-the-go. Our mobile-responsive forms adapt to any smart device they are viewed on; making it possible for students to complete polls and questionnaires without pinching or zooming out on their screens. 

2. Multiple Form Fields

Choose from our multiple form fields to help you collect feedback from students in different formats. Formplus has more than 30 form fields that support data collection the way you like. Some of the form fields you can use for formative assessment are text fields, rating fields, and image choice options. 

3. Multiple Form Sharing Options

Formplus has multiple form-sharing options; making it more convenient for students to participate in formative assessment. After creating your online assessment survey, poll, or questionnaire, you can send out email invitations to students to fill the form—this is a great idea for entry and exit slips.

4. Autofill Form Data from Spreadsheet

Formplus allows you to autofill students’ data from a spreadsheet so that respondents do not have to bother about providing information from scratch as they participate in formative assessment. After mapping out the students’ data on your form or survey, send out email invitations to students to allow them to update their information via custom prefilled forms. 

5. File Uploads

Formplus offers flexible and unlimited file uploads so you can collect different file types of any file size directly in your form, and save them in your preferred cloud storage. You can add numerous file upload fields directly in the Formplus form builder; choosing from 30 available form fields. 

Advantages of Formative Assessment 

  1. Formative assessment helps students to align their learning goals with the aims and objectives of the coursework or training. It keeps the learning goals in the minds of everyone and instructors can help students to resolve any challenges they face before they get off track.
  2. Formative assessment improves the overall learner performance. As teachers monitor learners’ progress, they can utilize the feedback to improve the learning experience and ultimately, the learner’s performance. 
  3. It is an effective way to boost your students’ motivation. Formative assessment spurs learners to smash their goals by consistently tracking their progress towards specific knowledge objectives. 
  4. By tracking learners’ progress using different formative assessment methods, the teacher can create personalized learning experiences for the students. Formative assessment helps you to understand the unique needs of your students and know the best ways to support them on their individual learning journeys. 
  5. Formative assessment empowers the instructors to make data-driven decisions. Using the data gathered from frequent learning checks, the instructor can make valid and informed decisions that are grounded in real-time experiences.
  6. It helps instructors to adjust their teaching methods to better suit the needs of the learners. 

Disadvantages of Formative Assessment 

  1. Formative assessment can be time-consuming because the teacher needs to implement several methods to effectively monitor students’ progress as they learn. 
  2. The more formative assessments you incorporate in the learning process, the lesser time there is for actual teaching.
  3. Planning formative assessment processes can be tedious and exhausting for the instructor. 
  4. The instructor’s bias or any other form of subjectivity affects the validity of the whole process and can create an inaccurate representation of the students’ progress. 
  5. Since formative assessments are non-graded, students may not be eager or motivated to participate in them; especially when they are accustomed to getting grades or points for their academic progress. 

Conclusion

Formative assessment has a huge positive impact on the teaching and learning process. Teachers can use the data from formative assessment to improve their teaching methods while students use the platform to draw the teacher's attention to areas where they need help. 

It is also a great way to boost class participation because the students get involved in different quick-fire tasks as the course progresses. If you are just getting familiar with this method of course evaluation, you can start by creating an online impromptu quiz for your students using Formplus or putting a 1-minute online survey together. 



  • Formplus Blog
  • on 9 min read

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