Editor’s note: This is an updated version of one of our most popular articles on quick formative assessment activities.
Assessment activities should be quick, enjoyable, and versatile. That’s because formative assessment is best when it’s ongoing and consistent. Teachers use it in their classrooms to provide critical feedback to students. It helps them to monitor and modify their instruction methods and lesson plans to improve learning outcomes. That’s why we must use a variety of assessment activities and change them up frequently to stimulate both students and themselves.
Here’s a list of awesome formative assessment activities that we like. They’re creative, low-tech, fun and engaging for students. Best of all, they’re easy for a teacher to implement on an ongoing basis anytime.
15 Formative Assessment Activities You’ll Love Using
Formative assessment is an assessment that’s both for learning and as learning. This continual cycle of feedback and improvement makes learning useful and effective. Try these assessment activities with your students and see the results for yourself.
1. Peer Quizzes: Students can write their own questions about the content and then quiz each other. They would also spend time going through the incorrect answers with each other to heighten their understanding.
2. 5x5 Journal: Journalling has been proven to be one of the best reflection tools around for learning. Have students journal about the five most interesting ideas they discover during a lesson. Next, they identify five things that resonate with them about each one and explain why.
3. Past Postcards: Have students adopt the personality of a historical figure and write a postcard to another historical figure from the same era. They can discuss a significant event from history that has just occurred.
4. Cool Collages: Ask students to make a collage or poster from magazine photos for demonstrating their understanding of a concept. They can use standard art materials or use apps designed for drawing.
5. Talk it Out: Students can host their own talk show and discuss the important points of any lesson. They write their own questions and answers, and can even play characters of their own creation.
6. Daring Doodles: Challenge students to use a drawing rather than words to show understanding of a concept. This is the perfect exercise for those kids who have difficulty speaking out in class.
7. Exploration Table: At the end of class, each student answers the following questions presented to them on index cards:
- What did we do in class?
- Why did we do it?
- What did I learn today?
- How can I apply it?
- What questions do I have about it?
8. 3-2-1: Have students write or talk about 3 things they learned, 2 things they still want to learn, and 1 question they have. These values are interchangeable and can be used in different combinations, or with different questions altogether.
9. Four Corners: This is a great way to encourage dynamic movement while learning multiple-choice questions. Designate each corner of the classroom to represent A, B, C, and D. Students go to the corner that they believe corresponds with the correct answer.
10. Traffic Cards: Students create index cards with a large green marker circle on one side and red on the other. If they are following along and understanding the lesson, the green side of their card is upright and visible to you. When they do not understand something and need clarification, they flip the card to show you the red side. Here is an alternative method that can be downloaded for free and printed on coloured card stock for quick use.
11. Twitter Board: Students summarize what was learned in a lesson using 140 characters. Pin small strips of paper to a poster or cork board to resemble a Twitter feed.
12. Top Ten Lists: Students can write out their ten most important takeaways from a lesson plan or a class discussion. Encourage them to create lists that are humourous and fun.
13. Roll the Dice: Put a die at each desk. At the end of class, each student rolls and briefly answers aloud a question based on the number rolled:
- I want to remember …
- Something I learned today
- One word to sum up what I learned
- Something I already knew
- I’m still confused about …
- An “aha” moment that I had today
14. Enthusiasm Example Chart: Here’s a great chart for not only collecting feedback but also introducing scatter plots to students. Students rank what they learned that day and how much they enjoyed the lessons. They then elaborate on a Post-It, offering details about what they found helpful to them in having a successful learning day. They can also share what prevented them from having a fulfilling day. Compile the data and discuss it in class the next day.
15. Quick Quotables: Have students create two columns on a piece of paper. On one side have them write 5 or 6 of their most favourite quotes from people they admire. In the adjoining column, have them write their own interpretation of the what the quote means to them and why it appeals to them. If they’re feeling good about it, have them consider what makes a great quote as they write their own about ideas that are important to them.
Assessment Activities in Your Pocket
Hopefully, these formative assessment activities have inspired you to devise your own engaging assessment tools. You’ll find all these activities and many, many more in our latest resource Pocket Assessment. This new guide features over 70 quick assessment activities for using in your classrooms. It’s a veritable Swiss army knife of the best and most popular formative assessment tools in classrooms today.