04Aug 2016

Why We Love Formative Assessments (And You Should Too!)

What are Formative Assessments? 

Formative assessments are low-risk, low-point value quizzes or surveys instructors administer during the learning process to gather immediate feedback and adjust their teaching style as needed. They are becoming more and more popular with the rise of technology in the classroom, making it quick and easy to gather audience feedback and learner participation in real-time.



Let's explore the benefits of formative assessments:

Depending on how you administer the assessments, some of the most common advantages include: saving time teaching, grading, and answering repetitive questions, keeping students engaged and ensuring students are understanding what is being taught. We will explore these ideas further:

  • Assessments are an excellent way to gather real-time feedback from a large audience. Ever wonder how many students are actually paying attention and grasping what you're teaching? Administer a poll to find out in minutes!

  • We often overestimate how much we are actually learning and can recall. Formative assessments give students an idea of what they are absorbing before they get to the midterm or final and find out the hard way that they should have studied more.

  • Taking advantage of technology for assessments allows users to gather feedback automatically and share the results with the audience, without having to collect, read, and grade stacks of papers. Check out our blog for more information: Formative Assessments and Real-Time Results.

  • They are flexible and can be used for a variety of purposes including:

  1. Gathering feedback for guest speakers
  2. Rating peer presentations
  3. Sending out multiple question quizzes
  4. Asking individual questions along with a powerpoint
  5. Asking a comprehensive question for participation points.
  • Keep students attention. Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist and Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington has studied the human attention span extensively. His work has shown that after a 10-minute period, our attention drastically drops unless a new task or something that arouses our emotions is introduced.

  • Eliminate grading. One deterent to manually gathering feedback is it creates more work and more time is needed to go through the responses. However, when using a tool like CourseKeystudents simply submit their answers through their devices and the responses are automatically graded, allowing the instructor to discuss the results with the class in minutes. This allows the intructor to elimate any confusion associated with incorrect answers and allows students to get feedback immediately, while the information is fresh in their minds. 

Increasing student engagement through formative assessments


Especially in large lecture classes, where discussions are fewer and more difficult, real-time assessments are a key component of successful learning outcomes. Whether you've been using this method for years or are brand new to any technology in the classroom, there are numerous options and resources available. CourseKey is an intuitive tool that specializes in formative assessments, along with location based, automated attendance and several other options to help both students and instructors. Find out more today!




How would you implement formative assessments in your classroom?