10 Fun Formative Assessments with examples

In this blog, we're diving into the world of formative assessments, exploring their importance, comparing them to summative assessments, and most importantly, unveiling 10 engaging and fun formative assessment examples that will breathe new life into your teaching methods.

10 Fun Formative Assessments with examples
Do not index
Do not index

What are Formative Assessments?

Formative assessments are a crucial tool in a teacher's arsenal, providing invaluable insights into student understanding and progress throughout a lesson or unit. Unlike summative assessments, which evaluate students' overall learning at the end of a period, formative assessments are ongoing, interactive, and designed to shape instruction in real-time. They help teachers gauge where their students are, identify misconceptions, and adapt their teaching strategies accordingly.
Why Are Formative Assessments Important?
  • Regular-Time Feedback: Formative assessments offer timely feedback, allowing teachers to adjust their teaching methods to meet students' needs.
  • Individualized Learning: They help identify individual strengths and weaknesses, enabling personalized instruction.
  • Active Engagement: Formative assessments engage students in the learning process, making them active participants in their education.
  • Enhanced Retention: Regular assessment promotes better retention of information and deeper understanding.
  • Effective Planning: Teachers can plan lessons more effectively by tailoring them to students' specific needs.

Formative Assessment vs. Summative Assessment

Formative Assessment
Summative Assessment
To inform instruction and improve learning.
To evaluate overall mastery of content.
Ongoing throughout the learning process.
Typically administered at the end of a unit or course.
Provides immediate feedback for both teachers and students.
Feedback is often delayed, given after completion.
Targets specific learning objectives and skills.
Evaluates overall performance and knowledge.
Low-stakes, less stressful for students.
High-stakes, often associated with grades.
Often qualitative, focuses on growth and improvement.
Quantitative, results in a grade or score.
- Promotes active learning - Reduces stress and anxiety in students - Supports ongoing student development - Encourages immediate feedback
- Measures overall achievement - Provides a final evaluation - Often standardized and objective - Aids in comparing student performance
- Requires consistent planning and implementation - May take time away from content delivery - Grading can be time-consuming - Effectiveness depends on the individual teacher, quality of questions and tasks
- Limited feedback for improvement - Can induce test anxiety - May not reflect true learning - Does not inform instruction during the learning process

10 Fun Formative Assessment Examples

1. 3-2-1 Reflection (Exit Slip)

Ask students to write down three key ideas they learned, two personal insights or reflections on the material, and one question they still have. This concise format encourages critical thinking and self-assessment.
Example: "Write down three important facts about photosynthesis, two things you found interesting, and one question you have about the process."

2. Two Truths and a Lie

Present students with two true statements and one false statement related to the topic you've taught. Challenge them to identify the lie, encouraging them to think critically and use their prior knowledge.
Example: "Here are two true statements and one false statement about the Civil War. Which one is the lie? 1. The Civil War took place from 1861 to 1865. 2. Abraham Lincoln was the President of the Confederate States of America. 3. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued during the Civil War."

3. Four Corners - Multiple-Choice

Turn multiple-choice questions into an engaging game. Assign each answer choice to a different corner of the room. Have students physically move to the corner that corresponds to their answer, promoting discussion and peer interaction.
Example: "Which of these is NOT a renewable energy source? A) Solar B) Wind C) Coal D) Hydroelectric"

4. Emoji Drawing/Survey

Leverage the appeal of emojis by incorporating them into formative assessments. Ask students to select or draw an emoji that represents their understanding, feelings, or opinions related to the lesson.
Example: "Draw an emoji that reflects how much you enjoyed today's lesson."

5. Heads-Down

Create a safe classroom environment by having all students put their heads down and respond to yes or no questions without revealing their answers to others. This technique provides quick insights into student comprehension without prior preparation.
Example: "Raise your hand if you think photosynthesis is essential for plant growth."

6. Think-Pair-Share

Encourage peer interaction by having students discuss the topic with a partner. Walk around and listen to their conversations, taking anecdotal records to gauge mastery.
Example: "Think about the key factors that led to the American Revolution. Share your thoughts with your partner."

7. Roll the Dice

Make learning interactive by using dice. Prepare six questions related to the lesson and have students roll the dice to determine which question they'll answer. This approach yields multiple responses for each question, providing a comprehensive view of student understanding.
Example: "Roll the dice and answer the question corresponding to the number you get: 'What is the most challenging aspect of this topic for you?'"

8. Tweet Tweet (or now X-X)

Tap into students' digital world by asking them to summarize the lesson in 280 characters or less on a sticky note. Alternatively, challenge them to create hashtags that encapsulate key concepts.
Example: "Sum up today's science lesson in a tweet. Remember, you have only 280 characters!"

9. ELI5 (Explain Like I'm 5)

Encourage students to teach the material to others by having them describe complex concepts in simple terms, as if explaining to a 5-year-old. This technique promotes organization of thoughts and identifies gaps in understanding.
Example: "Explain the process of photosynthesis as if you were explaining it to a 5-year-old."

10. Making Predictions

Foster critical thinking by having students make predictions about what they will learn next based on prior knowledge. Ask them to explain their predictions, revealing their perception of the learning trajectory.
Example: "Based on what we've covered so far, predict what we'll learn in the next lesson and explain why you think so."
These 10 fun formative assessments transform the learning process into an engaging and interactive experience. By implementing these techniques, you can create a dynamic classroom environment that promotes active learning, provides valuable feedback, and enhances overall understanding.
Experiment with these formative assessments to discover which ones resonate best with your students and align with your teaching goals. Do share your experiences with these engaging assessment methods or any new methods you tried in comments!

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Written by

Manthan Gattani
Manthan Gattani

Math teacher with 11 Years of teaching experience, Manthan has taught 10,000+ students across multiple geographies.