Use Technology to Support Formative Assessment

Discover ways to use technology tools to support formative assessment in
English Language Arts and Math

Formative assessment is a critical element in differentiating and personalizing instruction. Use ongoing assessment in your classroom to:

  • Map the learning journey – gather information to map progress toward learning goals
  • Stay on track – gain insight into student progress, identify areas of weakness, refine teaching practices, and select appropriate technology supports
  • Plan new routes – define goals for the next unit, select practices and tools, recognize accomplishments and progress and identify needed supports

As a teacher, you likely use both formative and summative assessments to help you track student progress towards learning goals. The purpose of formative assessments is to track student learning to provide ongoing feedback that helps students improve their learning and helps teachers enhance their instruction. In contrast, the goal of summative assessments is to evaluate student learning at the completion of a specific instructional unit or course by measuring progress against a benchmark or standard.

While formative assessment is an important piece of planning and differentiating your instruction, it can also be time consuming. Technology tools can help streamline the process with immediate feedback that allows you to address gaps in student learning or modify your instruction as necessary. Additionally, these tools can help you pinpoint student needs, identify class-wide trends, save records, and share results with students and families.

What are the benefits?

Formative assessments help teachers determine whether a student has achieved the skills needed to meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in ELA and Math. By monitoring and documenting ongoing student process, teachers are better able to:

  • Refine learning goals (related to the CCSS) based on a student’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Revise and modify teaching practices, including identifying ways to differentiate instruction
  • Select and integrate appropriate technology supports into the instructional process

Using tech tools to collect student responses in real-time can help you to be more flexible in your teaching and lesson planning. For example, asking students to respond to an admit or entry ticket question using a Google Form can tell you in the first five minutes of class what topics students may need additional help on, allowing you to spend a few minutes re-teaching and addressing gaps in knowledge.

See it in action!

Learn more!

Visit our pages for formative assessment in ELA and Math to see examples of how you can incorporate evidence-based practices, technology tools, assessment, and UDL principles into your teaching. Here a few ideas to get you started:

  • Collect student responses to quizzes, exit tickets, prompts, or open-ended questions using Google Forms. Responses are instantly fed into a spreadsheet allowing you to view all student responses or create graphs of student answers. Doing a math quick check of facts? Instantly see that 75% of your class understood the content, or which students need additional support.
  • Take your use of Google Forms a step further with a free tool like Flubaroo, which instantly grades assignments and provides you with graphs and reports on student responses.
  • Khan Academy videos are a great learning tool for students – combine the videos with Khan Academy’s built-in assessments to provide targeted instruction and remediation for students who need it.
  • Use built-in commenting and feedback features in Google Docs to provide students with ongoing feedback on their online response journals. Tools like Kaizena also allow you to provide audio and video feedback. Is a student struggling with a particular topic? Embed a YouTube video in your comment that provides the student with additional instruction!
  • Want to ensure that your students understand a key sequence of events? Use a free tool like Comic Creator to have students create a quick 3 panel comic demonstrating understanding.
  • Use texting, Twitter or free tools like Socrative to gather quick student responses.