Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

10 Best Tools for a 5-Minute Formative Assessment

10 Best Tools for a 5-Minute Formative Assessment

By Elizabeth Kahn

During our school’s professional development, prior to the start of the new school year, we discussed the differences between formative and summative assessment.

As a librarian, I generally rely on formative assessment to find out if the students have learned and understood the skills that I was teaching on any given day.

Formative assessment is usually quick and does not have to be done with paper and pencil. There are many tech tools that can assist with this type of assessment that teachers can use for an immediate gauge of student learning—and I’m sharing those tools with you today.

Whether you use one of these in the library, or you share all of them with the teachers in your building, these tools should be part of your teaching arsenal.

Note that some of these programs do require every student to have access to a computer or hand held device, but not all of them.

More: 21st Century Classroom Assessment: Redefining Effective

Zip Grade

Device: Teacher only

With Zip Grade, the teacher downloads an answer sheet from the company’s website of 20, 50, or 100 questions with five possible answers. Students will use a pencil to bubble in their answers to multiple-choice questions. The teacher will access an IOS or Android app on their smart phone to quickly grade each test paper.

The free version allows each teacher the ability to grade 100 papers a month, but it only costs $6.99 a year for unlimited test papers, which is almost free.


Device: Teacher only

Another type of assessment that only requires the teacher to have a device is Plickers. The teacher needs to print answer cards from the website in a set of 40, or 63 for large student groups. These cards can be used over and over, so laminating them would help prolong their life.

You can purchase a set of durable cards on if you have the budget for it. The cards all have four possible answers. When the teacher asks a question, the student holds up the card in the direction that corresponds to the answer they select. Using the app on a phone or tablet, available on IOS or Android, the teacher scans the room with their device collecting the answers on the cards. It takes seconds to record all answers, and they are projected on your computer in real time.


Device: All students

When every child has access to a device, you could use Socrative for on the fly questioning. The free version allows up to 50 students per session. You can ask one question or multiple questions and students record their answers using a computer or handheld device. The teacher will receive immediate real-time assessment reporting, giving a quick overview of whether they need to reteach or if the students are ready to move on to new concepts.


Device: All students, or shared in groups

Quizizz works on any device with a browser, but you can also download an IOS app or Chrome app. There are quizzes available for teachers to use, or users can create their own. Students are given a code to join the “game.” If you play it live in the classroom, you can have teams answer using a shared device or play individually, with everyone having a device. Teachers can also assign a quiz to be completed as homework.

Avatars, leaderboard, themes, music and memes make this feel more game-like and enticing. Reports by class and student help you reflect on your teaching to provide you a gauge as to what students have learned.


Device: Shared in groups

With Quizlet, students or teachers can create sets of flash cards to study. Then students have the option to review the cards, take a quiz, or play a game to help them learn specific concepts. Quizlet Live was created for teachers to use as a method for formative assessment.

Students work in teams and log on with a code to begin play. Accuracy is favored over speed, and if a team chooses a wrong answer, they must start over from the beginning. This type of activity promotes collaboration and communication, which are skills critical for school and career success. 

More: 5 Digital Citizenship Lessons for 21st Century Learners


Device: All students, or shared in groups

If you need a tool to facilitate exit tickets, Padlet is one of my go to programs. I’ve used it with students, but it can be equally effective with teachers in a professional development setting. Padlet is like a giant wall where users can place “sticky notes” with information. Just share the URL, and anyone with the link can post text or add images, video, files, or links to the wall.

Padlet is easy to use on any browser, but apps for IOS, Android, and Chrome are also available. This tool is great for collaboration, as notes posted are added to the wall in real time, and the teacher can use an interactive white board to project to the class.

Another cool feature of Padlet is the ability to embed the wall in a curation tool like Livebinders or even your blog.

Poll Everywhere

Device: All students, or shared in groups

If you’re using PowerPoint or Google Slides for a presentation with your students, you can add questions with Poll Everywhere within your presentation. The free account allows up to 40 responses at a time and many question types including multiple choice, free response, and true/false.

Once students record their response using the browser on their computer or their smart phone, the results will be displayed on your computer in real-time. Use this tool as a way to score participation points in your classroom and collect formative data in any content area.

Get more classroom polling ideas:


Device: All students

I have suggested using Kahoot before as a way to study concepts that have already been taught in the classroom. Students are highly engaged by its music and the leaderboard that pops up after every question. With Kahoot students earn points for accuracy and speed, and the tool can also be used as a formative assessment tool. The teacher downloads the results of any quiz to a spreadsheet to monitor how well students have learned the skills you have been teaching.

Google Forms

Device: All students

Whether your school is using Google Classroom or not, teachers can easily create a quick quiz using a Google Form. Begin the quiz with the student’s name as the first question and be sure to make all the questions required. There’s a lot of flexibility with the types of questions that you can ask including short answer, paragraph, multiple choice, or linear grid.

If you want to give the students help by adding images, links, or video, you can do that too. There’s also a function that allows your quizzes to be automatically graded with points. Once graded, the teacher can see a summary of the results with a list of frequently missed questions, graphs with correct answers, and average range of scores.

More: 10 Ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom

Survey Monkey

Device: All students, or shared in groups

I have been using Survey Monkey for years to collect information about what my patrons think of my school library’s services and resources. There’s a new feature now that allows you to create a quiz and have it automatically graded for you. With the free version of Survey Monkey, the user gets to ask ten questions and receive up to 100 responses, but you can create unlimited number of surveys.

If you send invitations to your students via email, then you can track exactly who responds and who doesn’t. You can also share your survey/quiz via a web link or embed it in your website. This tool would work in the classroom setting, but it would also function well as an activity that the students complete outside the classroom.

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10 Best Tools for a 5-Minute Formative Assessment


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  1. Pingback: Technology in the Classroom Part 1 | Conor Woolley

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