formative assessment examples

8 Formative Assessment Examples and Ideas for Any Grades

Assessment is important in determining learner comprehension and development in class. While summative assessments, like examinations and final projects, give useful information about learners’ overall performance, formative assessments are just as important in leading lessons and supporting learner progress. Formative assessments are continual, interactive procedures that offer learners and educators immediate feedback, allowing them to change and improve their teaching and learning practices.

Formative assessments assist educators in assessing learners’ knowledge while encouraging learner participation and critical thinking. Educators can use numerous formative assessment strategies to establish a dynamic, inclusive classroom climate that fosters active learning. This article provides 8 formative assessment examples and concepts suitable for every grade level, allowing educators to inspire and encourage their learners’ intellectual development.

1. Emoji Survey

Incorporating various innovative techniques to engage learners and gather valuable insights into their learning progress, one approach gaining popularity among educators is using Emoji Surveys. This unique formative assessment method harnesses the power of emojis, to capture learners’ thoughts, emotions, and feedback quickly and engagingly.

Instead of traditional written responses or multiple-choice questions, learners are presented with emojis representing different emotions, opinions, or levels of understanding. By selecting the most relevant emoji, learners can express their feelings and provide valuable feedback in a non-verbal, intuitive manner. The immediate feedback it provided can empower educators to make timely instructional decisions and tailor their teaching strategies to address learners’ needs effectively.

Read More: How to Identify and Address Learning Gap Effectively in Your Classroom

2. Short Answer ‘Word Cloud’

The concept behind this assessment is straightforward. Learners are asked to respond to a prompt or question with a short answer, typically limited to a few words or a concise sentence. These answers are then compiled into a word cloud, visually representing the frequency and importance of specific words or concepts within the learners’ responses. By condensing their thoughts into concise answers, learners gain a clearer understanding of their comprehension and can identify gaps or misconceptions.

Educators can adapt this assessment method from English language arts to social studies, math, or science to suit their curricular goals. However, it is important to note some limitations. While they provide a snapshot of collective learner responses, individual nuances may need to be recovered. Therefore, educators must supplement this assessment method with other techniques to comprehensively understand individual learner progress.

3. Pre-class Open-Ended Question

Pre-class Open-Ended Questions are a one-of-a-kind strategy that includes presenting thought-provoking questions to learners before a class or lesson, growing critical thinking, generating curiosity, and encouraging participation. Educators may build a unique and successful formative assessment experience by adapting these questions to specific themes or learning objectives.

Here are a few examples of Pre-class Open-Ended Questions:

  • “Why is biodiversity important in maintaining a healthy ecosystem?”

This question encourages learners to consider species’ interconnectedness and biodiversity’s significance for ecosystem stability.

  • “Describe an experience where language barriers affected communication. How did you overcome them?”

This question prompts learners to reflect on the challenges of language barriers and their strategies to communicate effectively.

These questions promote learner involvement and ownership of learning by allowing for customised replies, critical thinking, and in-depth reflection. The open-ended nature of the questions encourages creativity, cooperation, and a variety of viewpoints, making the evaluation process dynamic and thought-provoking.

Read More: 20 Classroom Management Strategies and Technique to Ensure Better Learners Outcome

4. Four Corners

The Four Corners activity turns the classroom into a collaborative learning environment. Educators can measure learner viewpoints, generate conversation, and collect important formative assessment data by posing a question or making a statement and enabling learners to physically go to one of the four corners of the classroom that indicates their decision.

The Four Corners activity is an engaging and dynamic way to assess learner understanding, opinions, and perspectives. Here’s how it works:

  1. Pose a question or statement: The educator presents a question related to the studied topic. The question can have multiple possible answers or different viewpoints for learners to consider.
  2. Assign corners with choices: The educator designates each of the four corners of the classroom with a specific choice or response option that learners can select.
  3. Learners choose a corner: Learners are given time to think about the question or statement and decide which choice aligns with their opinion, understanding, or viewpoint. Once they decide, they move to the corresponding corner of the classroom that represents their choice.
  4. Discussion and reflection: Once learners are in their respective corners, the educator facilitates a discussion where learners share their reasoning for their choice.

Integrating movement, debate, and contemplation will give educators significant insights into learner learning and viewpoints. This method improves learner involvement and critical thinking and promotes learner cooperation and communication. Educators may create a dynamic and inclusive environment that fosters active learning and meaningful formative evaluation by including the Four Corners activity in their teaching methods.

5. Self-Evaluation

Self-evaluation is an effective formative assessment approach that allows learners to own their learning and reflect on their progress. Learners can reflect on their learning experiences, identify their strengths and areas for development, and create objectives for further improvement during a self-evaluation as a formative assessment.

There are several key aspects to consider when implementing self-evaluation as a formative assessment strategy:

  1. Clear criteria: To guide their self-evaluation, learners need clear criteria or standards against which they can assess their performance. Educators should provide rubrics, checklists, or specific learning targets that clearly outline the expectations and indicators of success.
  2. Reflection prompts: These prompts can be designed to encourage learners to consider their understanding of concepts, their progress towards learning goals, their learning strategies, and any challenges or areas where they need additional support.
  3. Goal setting: Self-evaluation should involve goal setting, where learners identify specific areas for improvement and set targets for their growth.
  4. Feedback and support: This feedback can be written comments, one-on-one conferences, or whole-class discussions. By offering constructive feedback, educators can help learners gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and areas for improvement and provide guidance on progressing towards their goals.
  5. Reflection on progress: Encourage learners to reflect on their progress regularly, revisit their goals, and adjust their strategies as needed. This helps learners develop a growth mindset and fosters a culture of continuous improvement.

Self-evaluation encourages critical thinking and self-reflection by involving learners in analysing their understanding, abilities, and progress. This technique allows learners to understand the material better while encouraging them to become more self-aware and accountable for their learning journey.

6. Stop and Go

“Stop and Go” is an engaging and dynamic formative assessment approach that fosters active involvement and examines knowledge during a class or instructional activity. The educator signals learners to stop or go, indicating they should pause and reflect on their comprehension or proceed with the learning process. The “Stop and Go” technique gives important input to learners and educators by integrating moments of thinking and discussion.

To maximise the effectiveness of the “Stop and Go” formative assessment approach, educators should carefully plan when to use the “Stop” signals during the lesson or activity. These strategic pauses should correspond to significant points or essential concepts to encourage meaningful thinking and conversation.

7. Two Roses and a Thorn

The formative assessment technique “Two Roses and a Thorn” invites learners to reflect on their learning experiences and give constructive criticism. It provides learners with a regulated and balanced strategy to express two topics they understand (“roses”) and one topic that needs further explanation (“thorn”).

This technique encourages self-reflection and a development mentality while offering useful input to the educator for instructional changes. Developing a secure and supportive classroom atmosphere is critical to optimise the success of the “Two Roses and a Thorn” formative assessment technique. Encourage learners to offer constructive comments and foster a respectful atmosphere where all viewpoints are appreciated.

Read More: A Complete Guide Of Formative Assessment in K12 Schools

8. Peer Assessment

Peer assessment is a formative assessment approach in which learners become both assessors and learners as they critically evaluate the work of their peers. They give their constructive feedback abilities, delivering compliments for strengths and clear recommendations for progress, armed with established guidelines and standards.

Learners collaborate, learn from one another, and improve communication skills via dynamic debates and shared thoughts. This vibrant method gives learners many viewpoints and useful feedback while empowering them to take responsibility for their learning path. Peer assessment transforms the classroom into an active learning hub where learners grow as assessors, learners, and supportive collaborators.


In conclusion, formative assessment is a vital tool in any educator’s arsenal, enabling them to gather valuable insights into learner progress, tailor instruction, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. By incorporating various formative assessment strategies, educators can create engaging and interactive learning experiences that empower learners to take ownership of their learning.

To supercharge your formative assessment practices, consider utilising HeyHi Learning Space. This innovative platform offers a seamless remote teaching experience, ensuring that the power of formative assessment is not limited to the traditional classroom setting. With HeyHi, educators can engage learners in real-time, facilitate interactive discussions, share resources, and monitor learner progress. Try HeyHi Learning Spaces now!

Let each assessment moment be an opportunity for growth, discovery, and learner success. With the right strategies and tools, you can transform your teaching practice and create an environment where every learner thrives. Together, let’s embark on the journey of formative assessment and unlock the full potential of our learners’ learning experiences.

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