5 Creative Formative Assessments for Learning in the Classroom


                                                       When the cook tastes the soup, that’s formative assessment;

                                                  when the customer tastes the soup, that’s summative assessment.

                                                                          -Paul Black (assessment guru)


Formative assessments are methods used to gauge the effectiveness of instruction and student learning while it’s happening. On the other hand, summative assessments are used to measure student progress and achievement at the end of an instructional period (for example: at the end of a unit, semester, school year, etc.).

Formative assessments are generally implemented without students knowing they’re being assessed because they’re infused into instruction. (Whereas summative assessments are usually set apart from instruction.)

Below are five creative formative assessment methods that will provide you with valuable student data and will help guide your instruction while students are still learning:


When you’re short on time, instruct students to create a hashtag of one key takeaway from the lesson. Invite students to share and discuss their hashtags the following day as a review of the lesson.

Customizable Puzzles

Students can challenge each other by creating customizable crossword puzzles, math puzzles, and more with this free online puzzle generator from Discovery Education. This is a fun and effective way to review vocabulary and other subject-matter content.


Acrostic poems, limericks, haiku…choose a form of poetry and inspire students to write about concepts from a lesson. Encourage students to be humorous and imaginative!

Get Moving

Get students out of their seats by quickly transforming your classroom into a giant multiple-choice assessment. Designate and label four separate corners as A, B, C, and D. Present students with multiple-choice questions (one at a time) related to your current lesson. Instruct your students to select their answers by standing in the corresponding corners for each question presented. To discourage students from simply following the majority, try presenting questions with more than one correct answer and ask students to explain the reasoning for their choices.

Artistic Summaries

Challenge students to channel their inner Leonardo Da Vinci or Walt Disney by having them draw pictures to demonstrate understanding of a learning concept. Display the illustrations in the classroom to help visual learners deepen their understanding of a lesson.

As you know, formative assessment is an ongoing and critical component of student growth and achievement. How do you assess your students? We’d love to hear your own creative ideas!

Interested in learning more about how formative assessments can guide your teaching and promote student progress? Check out our online and site-based course – Formative, Interim, and Summative Assessments: Increase Engagement, Guide Instruction, Measure Learning.






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Jill Rockwell
Jill has over 13 years of experience as a licensed teacher in the areas of Special Education, Reading Education, and Health Education. She embraces diversity and has worked with students in grades K-12 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California. Jill completed her Master of Science degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls while teaching full time. She fully understands the soaring demands of today’s teachers. Her courses are designed to maximize the time of all educators by providing engaging, meaningful, and applicable activities which can be used to enhance teaching practices. She focuses on research-based best practices and technology integration throughout her own instructional practices. Together with her husband and two young boys, Jill enjoys traveling, biking and the changing seasons of the great outdoors in Wisconsin. 

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