Formative assessment is meant to monitor student learning and provide teachers information to help guide instruction during a lesson or unit.  It can help teachers target areas of weakness, identify strengths, and differentiate.  Using appropriate formative assessment strategies can help improve instruction and student achievement.  It doesn’t have to be time consuming.  These  no-prep formative assessment methods can save you time while informing your instruction.


Four Corners:  Students will choose a corner based on their level of expertise of a given subject. Once students are in their chosen corners, allow them to discuss their progress with others. Questions may be prompted by the teacher.  Corner One will pair with Corner Three and Corner Two will pair with Corner Four for peer scaffolding.

So What? Journal:  Identify the main idea of the lesson. Why is it important?  State 2–3 reasons these concepts are important.

Misconception Check:  Present students with common or predictable misconceptions about a particular concept or process.  Ask students to agree or disagree and explain why.  Can also be presented in the form of a multiple-choice or true-false quiz.

Inside-Outside Circle: Students will form one inner and outer circle. The inside and outside circles face each other. Within each pair, students will quiz each other with questions they have written. The outside circle moves to create new pairs. Repeat.

Triangular Prism:  Have students provide feedback about their learning by displaying a card with the color that corresponds to their level of understanding (red, yellow, green).

Decisions, Decisions:  Give students a question, prompt, or problem to solve.  Provide time to respond independently. Then have students move to a side of the room that corresponds to their response.  Each side will share out their reasoning. Allow students to change sides after the discussion.

Sketch:  Visually represent new knowledge.  Challenge students to use a drawing rather than words to show understanding of a concept. This is the perfect exercise for those kids who have difficulty speaking out in class.

Whip Around:  Pose a question or a task and have students individually respond on a scrap piece of paper, listing at least 3 thoughts/responses/statements.  When finished responding, all students will stand.  Then randomly call on a student to share one of his/her ideas.  Have students check off any items that are said by another student (or themselves) and sit down when all of their items have been shared with the group.  Allows general understanding or gaps to be revealed among the whole group.

Letter:  Explain the concept or lesson in a letter to a friend (also a great way to practice letter writing).

Cubing: Display 6 questions from the lesson.  Have students in groups of 4.  Give each group one die. Each student will roll the die and answer the question with the corresponding number.  If a number is rolled more than once, the student may elaborate on the previous response or roll again.  Responses may be written or shared orally.

3-2-1: Have students write a response to teacher generated questions.  Teacher questions may vary according to the particular concept/ process: 3 things you found out 2 interesting things 1 question you still have OR 3 key words 2 new ideas 1 thought to think about.

Quickwrite:  Without stopping, write what most confuses you.  Visit with students individually or have a class discussion to help clarify confusions.

What no-prep formative assessment strategies do you use in your classroom?



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