Empowering Teachers with Technology: Formative Assessment to Personalize Learning

How can technology tools support teachers in their use of formative assessment across different subject areas to better serve the needs of struggling students? Technology-enhanced instruction enables teachers to provide different modes of support to each student, understand where they are excelling and struggling, and personalize instruction to meet their individual needs. By integrating easy-to-use formative assessment tools and resources into their practice, teachers can enhance their teaching to align with the needs of the learner.

An area of particular interest, 40 percent of first-year teachers identified using technology tools for formative assessment as one of the top requests for professional development according to recent findings from a Speak Up survey administered by Project Tomorrow.

How does formative assessment help teachers personalize learning?

Formative assessments are a critical element to differentiating and personalizing instruction. Contrary to summative assessments, which typically occur at the end of a lesson or unit, formative assessments are frequent checks for understanding that provide teachers with a quick, continual snapshot of a student’s progress. Use ongoing formative assessment in your classroom to:

  • Map the learning journey. Collect student understanding by gathering starting data, short quizzes, and exit tickets, to map progress toward learning goals.
  • Stay on track. Gain insight into student progress, identify areas of weakness, refine teaching, and select appropriate technology supports.
  • Plan new routes. Define goals for the next unit, select practices and tools, recognize progress and identify needed supports.

What are the benefits of formative assessment?

Using technology tools to collect student responses in real-time can help teachers to be more flexible in teaching and lesson planning. Teachers will be better able to:

  • Refine learning goals based on a student’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Revise and modify teaching practices, including identifying ways to differentiate instruction
  • Select and integrate appropriate technology supports into the instructional process

What are some examples of formative assessment tools?  

  • Google Forms. Collect student responses to quizzes, exit tickets, prompts, or open-ended questions. Responses are instantly fed into a spreadsheet allowing the teacher to view all student responses or create graphs of student answers.
  • Kaizena for Google Docs/Microsoft Word. Provide on-going feedback to students and embed videos and resources to help explain in an interactive way that brings normal tracked changes to life.  
  • Socrative. Use this interactive application to assess students with activities and quizzes.

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