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Formative Assessment-Keeping it simple!

Formative assessment allows teachers to evaluate student comprehension and progress during the course of a lesson or task. It is an integral part of effective teaching as it helps teachers to spot areas that their students may be struggling to grasp or identify skills that they may not have acquired yet. From these observations teachers can then make adjustments to their lessons and provide feedback to students while it’s all happening.

Formative assessment works best when it’s used regularly within the classroom. It allows teachers to provide quick feedback to their students in the moment which in turn improves the subsequent learning that occurs. This is why it is so important to implement it daily within your lessons. It gives teachers an overall idea of how their class is progressing and also provides the information needed to make sure all students are engaged and understanding. Often we can end up talking rather than teaching when trying to get through all of the material we need to cover. Formative assessments help to remind us of what’s important, teaching is of no use unless what’s being taught is understood.

Simple Assessments you can use daily

The Traffic Light System

This is a super easy way of assessing understanding in the moment and getting immediate feedback. Give each student 3 pieces of card, one red, one orange and one green. When you’re half way through a lesson/task ask them to show their lights. This is a great one for using mid lesson, especially if you want to break the class into groups. You can pair those who understand (green) with others that may be a little unsure (orange) and those who don’t understand (red) can be given more direction/differentiation.

Roll the dice

I always find that this is a classroom favorite. It’s simple and quick, an easy way to get verbal feedback at any point during a lesson. It only requires a die per group/table and the list of questions. Each number corresponds to a question which students will answer aloud.

  1. A word to sum up what I’ve learned.

  2. Something I already knew.

  3. A lightbulb moment I had.

  4. A question that i still have.

  5. One thing I want to remember.

  6. Something I learned today.

Exit Tickets

Exit tickets provide us with a clear picture and allow us to see how the class is progressing. It is not only a beneficial resource for teachers but also for our students. It gives them time to reflect on what they’ve learned and brings awareness to what they still need to learn. Equally, it provides teachers with the opportunity to see where their students need more help.


We’d love to hear about any teaching strategies that you use with your students. Please share what works well for you with @aquilaeducation on Twitter orFacebook.

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