This week, Dalton, Trevor and I had the opportunity to share what we had learned about assessment with the rest of the class. As we prepared for the presentation, we spent some time exploring what assessment is as well as a variety of digital assessment tools that can be utilized in a classroom. Some of these tools were brand new to us (Classkick), while many others were ones that we've used extensively in our classrooms. For this blog post, I will take some time to further discuss Socrative - which happens to be the assessment tool that I've utilized the most over my ten-year career. However, before we get to discussing this specific tool, it might be helpful to refresh yourself with some other examples of non-digital assessment tools that teachers have used (and continue to use) in today's education climate.
Assessment Technologies: Formative and Summative
What is Socrative?
Socrative is a user-friendly digital assessment tool that allows students to participate in virtual self-marking quizzes that provide realtime feedback for both students and teachers.
Setting Up Socrative
As is mentioned in the presentation, one of the benefits of using Socrative is how easy and user-friendly it is for teachers and students. Once an account has been created (which is a simple process involving your email and a password), it is relatively easy to design quizzes that can be assigned to students.
Please see the steps below for creating your very own Socrative quiz:
Step One) Select the quizzes tab and name your quiz.
Step Two) Add the the type of question needed for your quiz - you have the option of True/False, Multiple Choice or Short Answer
Step 3) Type your question, fill in the answer bank, and add an image (if needed)
Step 4) Add an explanation in the box at the bottom of the question.
This feature identifies and explains how to solve a question in the event a student got the answer wrong. I personally love this feature as it helps my students to learn from their mistakes!
Step 5) Save your quiz and exit back to the home screen.
As was the case for teachers, Socrative is also very easy for my students to access and use. The log-in process is relatively simple as students do not need to worry about forgetting usernames or passwords as there are no unique profiles necessary on the basic Socrative account. Instead, students only need to enter the name of my Socrative room (this can be customized by the teacher), and their first name to access the quiz. Not only is this a benefit for student privacy, but it also provides a simple and quick way for students to complete the Socrative tasks provided to them.
When taking a quiz, Socrative also has a unique feature that teachers can activate which allows students to take an open navigation quiz. With this setting, students can work back and forth through the questions on an assignment and do not need to submit their work until they are finished. This allows students to think about their answers or move to a different question if they are stuck - unlike some of the other assessment tools that force students to submit their final answer before they can move onto the next one.
Use of Socrative
While I've used Socrative for both summative and formative assessments in other subjects, my primary use of this tool is during my Flipped Math classes. As I've mentioned in past posts, in my Flipped Math class, my students are tasked with viewing my pre-recorded lessons before coming to school. Once our math class begins, the students are tasked with answering a brief (3-5 question) Socrative quiz on the concepts from the lesson. As students write this quiz, I track their results in real-time and use this information to gauge which students will need additional support before beginning their daily tasks or assignment. This is an integral part of my class as these results also help me target the specific area or concept that a student may be struggling with and avoid re-teaching an entire lesson - which saves time for both of us.
Pros and Cons
Formative or Summative?
As was discussed in our presentation, like so many other digital assessment tools, Socrative isn't inherently formative or summative - it's all about how we use it. While I may primarily utilize Socrative for formative assessment in my math class, I've also used it as a summative assessment tool in other classes. While some teachers (Dean and Trevor) may argue that Go Formative (a tool similar in nature to Socrative) is the superior assessment tool, I believe that it all comes down to personal preference - just as the use of this tool (formative or summative) comes down to the needs of the teacher.