Top Tools for Formative Assessments

Formative assessments play an important role in how we shape our lessons and learning activities to help students succeed. They provide unique, real-time insight into student learning that summative assessments do not.

One of the newest and most comprehensive tools is the Wisewire Create Platform, where teachers can make their own tech-enhanced items with hints and feedback tied to each selected answer choice to provide specific, personalized feedback. Don’t have time to create your own? Wisewire offers free sample questions under your “Resources” when you create an account, and currently has a bank of 15,000+ Common Core-aligned math and ELA questions to purchase for classroom use.

Each question on Wisewire’s platform is designed to have two hints, which are intended to coach students toward the correct answer without revealing it. The platform is designed to show students Hint 2 only after they’ve viewed Hint 1. Once students have accessed both hints, they can return to them as needed.


Depending on the needs of the student, hints can be definitional, conceptual, or procedural. Examples include:

  • A main idea is the most important topic that a passage is about. This passage is mostly about…
  • A linear function is…
  • To find the mean, first add the following numbers: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25. Then divide by…

The question-response feedback loop includes two attempts which transform the assessment into a learning piece. On the first incorrect attempt, students receive feedback that identifies and explains common misconceptions that may have led to their answer. The goal is for students to explore, understand, and adjust their thinking in order to arrive at the correct answer.  On the second attempt, students receive and explanation of the correct answer. This process allows students  to not only see if they’re right or wrong, but why or how they’re right or wrong.

In addition to Wisewire’s tools, there are tons of other tools out there for teachers.

Which tools will you be using this school year?