Formative is Transformative

By Guest Author Shira Teichman

(The original post is from Digital J Learning Network . We posted it here because it rocks!)

Last summer, DigitalJLearning Network had the pleasure of taking 15 Jewish day school educators to the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia, PA. The participants shared their learning from the conference and what they hoped to implement in the coming school year. Now we're catching up with these educators and finding out how their new educational technology initiatives are going. Shira Teichman, Math Teacher at The Frisch School, shares her thoughts in the first installment in this new blog series.

In many classrooms, formative assessments are given during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student achievement. However, these can be difficult to administer and grade in a timely fashion without the assessment's initial purpose getting lost. Formative, a new website that I learned about during ISTE this past summer, has transformed the way I assign and grade formative assessments.

Formative is a user-friendly website that allows teachers to create original or embed preexisting material into short assessments. A simple quiz takes only minutes to create. The true beauty of Formative, though, is the ability to grade and send feedback on students' results in real-time. Students were enthused to receive scores and feedback instantly, and as a teacher I found it exhilarating to see and mark students instantly. The first time that I launched the website, I showed the results on the SmartBoard, capitalizing on the pulsing excitement in the room.

In a recent survey, I asked my students to describe some of the aspects of this tool that they most liked. One student stated that she liked the “Immediate grades so you can review and fix your mistakes right away.” Another wrote that she liked “that it's linked to my Google account, which makes it easy to log in.” Many students described that it was “easy to navigate,” “simple,” and “a different type of quiz, which makes it kind of fun.” However, the survey showed that approximately 25% of students in my classes do not yet refresh the assessment page once I have marked it to read my comments, so we have room to grow!

I've been in constant contact with the founders of Formative since my discovery of the website and have found it easy to communicate and get help. I’ve been able to communicate with staff on Twitter, send live chats in which I have asked specific questions and receive detailed responses via email, and even had a chance to speak in a private Google Hangout with one of the primary founders. I look forward to using this program throughout the year and tracking student progress in a more efficient and exciting way.


Take a look at these cool GIFs that show some of the great features of Formative!

1) Creating an assignment or uploading and transforming a pre-existing document

2) Responses come in live (left is teacher screen and right is student screen)

3) Teachers can grade and give students instant written feedback

Contact information for Digital J Learning Network

Twitter: @DigitalJLearn  

Facebook Page:DigitalJLearning Network

Want more tips for using Formative in your own classroom? Contact us using our free on-demand help desk, Ask DJLN!