Formative Assessment Techniques in a 21st Century Classroom

Formative Assessment Techniques in a 21st Century Classroom
Only few students in a class reach the learning standards and the rest stayed behind the line of merit. Each student is unique, equally talented and has a different set of values, perspectives, concerns and agendas in the learning environment.

The inequalities in learning are caused not due to the difference between the students’ learning abilities but due to the learning environment in which they’re comfortable. Traditional teaching methods follow an approach where only the teacher leads a classroom and students confine to their seats for the entire day listening to long lectures. Personalized instructions are an effective way to avoid the great difference in grades among students. 21st century educators have recognized the need of formative assessment as its goal is to monitor student learning and provide ongoing feedback to instructors to improve their teaching and to students to improve their learning.

“Formative assessment has a bigger impact on student learning than class size or socioeconomic status”- Ryan McLane, Principal of Big Walnut Intermediate School in Sunbury, OH.

“You cannot call it as a “formative assessment” unless instruction is improved.”

“The formative assessment process is ultimately a communication process between teachers and students”- Alan Tenreiro , Principal Cumberland High School.

Multiple forms of consistent Formative Assessment is where student growth can explode versus other methods/tactics”- Ryan Hill , High School Science Teacher and TOSA Technology Integration Specialist.

“Kids will use formative assessment if they are empowered to make choices on the next steps of their learning”- Aaryn Schmuhl , educator and an innovator.

Let’s learn about some formative assessment techniques the 21st century educational system follows.

Tech tools suggested by Reed Gillespie, an innovative educator and an edtech enthusiast:

Reed Gillespie , Assistant Principal at Kettle Run High School in Nokesville, VA, has suggested 3 important tech tools which help educators in formative assessment of students.

Socrative, Celly, PollEverywhere provide some great educational technological ways of formative assessment”, shared Reed Gillespie.


Socrative  is a cloud-based student response system which allows educators to easily create polls, quizzes and other educational exercises for their class and monitor their students’ responses and progress in real time. You may read our previous article “Socrative: Formative Assessment Tool For Your Classroom ” to know more about it.

EHSMrsJ , An educator, has shared her classroom practices about formative assessment in a blog post and has also given her how-to guide .

“My students have done a great job using Socrative this year!  It’s extremely user-friendly, and I love that they don’t have to download anything, register for anything, or create and remember any sort of login or password”, said EHSMrsJ.

“25 million questions answered in Socrative over the last year. That's a lot of formative assessment!”- Team Socrative .


Celly is a great platform dedicated to providing users with collaboration tools to interact with family, friends, co-workers, teammates, etc.

Celly is changing the face of education! With Celly, cell phones have the potential to bridge the gap between the home, school, and social media world", Melissa Seideman, history teacher, Haldane High School, Cold Spring, NY.


Poll Everywhere ” is an extremely useful tool to get your audience response live, while still on stage. It’s a great formative assessment tool many teachers are using.

“I've integrated the use of phones in my class to start discussions & get student feedback. Poll everywhere is a great tool”, shared Scott Rocco , Superintendent, Adjunct Prof. at The College of NJ.

Formative Assessment using Games:

As we know game based learning plays an important role in education, educators are showing much interest to implement games that provide students with a meaningful learning experience.

SimCityEdu , designed by GlassLab, is an effective game that fulfills the needs of students as well as educators. 

“The big pain point we’ve heard from teachers is that they cannot entertain their kids to the level that they are being entertained outside of the classroom,” said Jessica Lindl, general manager of GlassLab.

“They want to be able to create meaningful learning experiences and they just can’t compete with the digital tools their kids are accessing all the time”, added Lindl.

“For decades, SimCity has been embraced by the educational community as an engaging videogame that also provides a powerful learning experience, teaching problem solving skills through imaginative civic gameplay,” said Lucy Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA’s Maxis Label.

SimCityEDU (EDU version of SimCity ), funded by the Gates and Macarthur foundations, provides assessments that are aligned with Common Core State Standards. The latest EDU version uses the same code as the commercial game, but with the addition of utilizing students’ choices during challenges as a method of assessment. GlassLab works to develop all the challenges based on focus-group feedback on student interests, but the one challenge they know they’ll include focuses on the environment, based on positive feedback from the focus groups. You can read more info about SimCityEDU here .

We hope this information is useful for you to know about a few techniques educators are following for an effective formative assessment. We’d like to know more approaches and tech tools like these. Join the conversation with numerous edtech educators who do formative assessment. Please feel free to share your ways of implementing formative assessment using 21stcentury technology. The comment box awaits you.

About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite:
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

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