Monday, March 9, 2015

Technology and Formative Assessment

Formative Assessment is arguably the most important aspect of successful teaching because it lets us know exactly what our students know and more importantly what they don't. I want to take a look at two online formative assessment tools, and Socrative.

Both of these programs use quizzes as a way to assess student's understanding. These programs are meant to be used with technology but both also have a print option if a paper copy of a quiz is needed.  There are features of both programs that I like and also some that I find frustrating. 


Is there an app? Yes there is both a student and teacher app. Also quizzes can be accessed online at

Do you need an account? Teachers do need an account but students do not. Students will need to enter room number and their name in order to access their quizzes. 

On Socrative you can create quizzes, quick questions, Space Races (a type of group quiz), and exit tickets. Here is what the teachers homepage looks like.

Best Features:
- Can create true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions
- Can add images to questions
- Can randomize question and answer order
- Can import quizzes from an excel file or if you know the SOC number of an already made quiz you can import a copy of that quiz 
- There are different quiz preferences (Student-Paced with Immediate Feedback, Student-Paced with Student Navigation, and Teacher-Paced) 
- Can get detailed reports of quizzes for feedback 

Some things that I don't care for are that there are not many options are far as math characters (there is a sub/super script button though). I also don't like how there is not a built in gradebook or graphs and shapes cannot be created within the program. 

My favorite part of Socrative are the reports the teacher has access to after the quizzes are completed. Teachers get live results after they send out the quiz, these results give the students' names, question numbers, and whether the question was answered correctly or incorrectly. This is what a teacher would see during the live results. 

Once the quiz is completed teachers have a few opitions of how they want to recieve their reports.

Is there an app? Yes (cost is $3.99) however, you can only use premade quizzes. On the app quizzes can not be created. The online version of the program however allows teachers to create and share their own quizzes. 

Do you need an account? No, but without an account (its free!) you cannot create and browse quizzes you can only use the premade quizzes. 

On you can create quizzes that are matching, multiple choice, or short answer and multiple choice (called "slides"). Tara Maynard presented about at this year's Math in Action conference and you can find her presentation here

Best Features:
- Manage multiple classes all from the same account. This makes it easier to have quizzes across different subjects for different classes. 
- Browse/Share quizzes (quizzes can be seached by code, subject, or even teacher's name)
- Teachers can set a number questions for each quiz. For example, you can set the quiz up so that it randomly chooses 5 questions out of a possible 20. This allows students to have different quizzes and also students can retake quizzes without getting the some questions. 
- Can create graphs and shapes and upload images directly in the program
- Built in gradebook that allows the teacher to see what their students answered and also how many times they attempted the quiz. 
- Teacher can choose to always save grades or else they can save once a students gets higher than a certain percentage (In Tara's class she only records her students' grades if they are an 80% or above)

Here is what a teacher would see on while they are editing their quiz.

I think the best part of is the ability to share and browse quizzes. My biggest compliant about this program is how times consuming it can be to create quizzes. That's why it is so great to be able to share and collobrate with other teachers. You also have the option to not share your quiz as well. 

I have seen both of these programs used for formative assessment in the classroom, and I think both have a lot of benefits. I love the reports that Socrative provides but wish they have a built in gradebook like I also wish Socrative made it easier to share quizzes with other teachers. As far as looks, my vote goes to Socrative. 

I have also heard somethings about the program Nearpod which allows teachers to be able to create presentations as well as quizzes for formative assessments. I am currently tyring to learn more before I give this program a review. Are there any other formative assessment programs that you use and would reccomend? 


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I hadn't heard about Socrative before, and I'll have to give it a go in one of my future classes. Another technology you may want to consider is Pear Deck, which has some similarities but also some more freeform applications you may find useful.

  2. Nearpod is worth a look and Pear Deck, as Jordan suggests. is another one gaining some steam.

    Thorough and informative reviews. 5Cs +

    I do want you to think about formative assessment beyond quizzes, too!

  3. This was a really nice post. I haven't heard of either of these so this was a really great overview with pros and cons of each. They sound like great tools, especially with the instant feedback they give. Really cool!