"How Formative makes worksheets WORK again"

By Guest Author Joe Marquez


Formative Assessment tools are only useful if they are effective. How is effectiveness measured? Two-fold:

1) The tools must be familiar in feel and easy to use for the teacher.

2) Yield instant results and feedback for the students.

The Problem with Worksheets

In the classroom, a worksheet is given to students to assess if they have grasped or understood a particular topic or concept learned in class. As a teacher, it is absolutely essential to assess a student after instruction to validate whether learning has in fact taken place. The problem with worksheets is the turnaround time from completion to comments to correction. With a traditional worksheet the turnaround time for a teacher with 120 students can be a week or even more. With so much time passing the effectiveness of the lesson and the correctness of the comments truly does not work for the student. Nor does it work for the teacher, who is is not given enough information as to which topics need to be readdressed for clarity.  Due to the limitations of worksheets to give meaningful feedback in a timely manner, they are no longer a meaningful form of student assessment in the classroom.  

So how can we make worksheets work again?

So how can we make worksheet work again? Worksheets will only work if teachers can, in real time, inspect student answers coming in. By inspecting these answers teachers can dramatically visualize if their instruction has truly translated into understanding. If the instructor notices a trend in the class answering the questions incorrectly, they can instantly direct the class towards what they are doing wrong and redirect them towards how to make their responses more meaningful. This redirect leads to the students making a correction to their answer to fully understand the material being taught. This process of “Inspection, Redirection, and Correction” truly brings meaning back to the worksheet, making the web based tool Formative an effective and invaluable tool for today's 21st century educational setting.

Formative turns “good” students into “GREAT” students.

As stated above, the only way a worksheet can be used in a meaningful way is if it allows the teacher and students to inspect their answers, redirect their focus, and correct their mistakes instantly.The answer to the worksheet is Formative, which allows teachers to create interactive digital worksheets from scratch or utilize existing files already found on their computer or the internet. Through Formative’s innovative platform the teacher/student relationship has truly become a symbiotic relationship to acheive greatness from every lesson. This is realized in three very easy to see ways:

1) Teachers can see a student’s answers populate in real time so they can see if learning has actually taken place. If students are answering the questions incorrectly the teacher can redirect the class and reteach the topic, which Formative has shown was not truly understood.

2) The instant feedback teachers receive from students helps to demonstrate to the class the difference between an unacceptable, good, and great answer. This allows the teacher to push students to always be continuously working towards being GREAT.

3) Allowing students to view the difference between good and great answers allows students to redirect their attention towards what the teachers is truly asking from them and elevate their responses to a truly meaningful level. The redirection and correction can take place in a whole group discussion. The teacher can use real time answers from the class to show true examples of unacceptable, good and great work. The instructor can easily zoom in on any student's answer and instigate a meaningful class discussion on what needs to be changed in an answer to turn a good answer into a great answer. A real world example of this can be seen HERE.


The power of Formative allows for the instant inspection of student learning, instant redirection of teachers lessons, and elevates the correctness of student understanding. Formative helps us teachers understand that we no longer have to be complacent and accept just good work from our students. Now we the teachers have the power to expect great work and instantly model what that greatness should look like in real time instruction. Finally we have a formative assessment tool that works. Formative has truly made worksheets WORK again.