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5 Best Online Assessment Tools for Teachers
April 11, 2020
Teachers need to know how well students are assimilating lessons so as not to leave anyone behind. You also have to assess each student at the end of the quarter, term, and semester and bestow a final grade that reflects both their understanding and their level of effort.
Online assessment tools for teachers are a necessary part of the remote learning picture. From one day to the next you need to know what your students understand. If you have a handle on their learning gaps then you can adjust your lessons to target them.
Grades matter, but so does understanding and being able to build on lessons to-date.
Formative or summative: What’s the difference?
Different assessment tools used by the teacher can be formative or summative in nature, either for shaping ongoing lessons or for grading once the instruction is complete.
Formative assessment tools are the quizzes, assignments, and in-class questions and discussions teachers use to gauge and guide (or form) their students’ learning process. That goes both ways, as teachers often use the answers in their students’ formative assessment tools to guide their lesson plans and lectures.
Summative assessment tools are the final essays and tests given at the end of a project, course, semester, unit, program, or school year. Teachers use these to evaluate student learning by comparing performance to a benchmark. These are high-stakes exams with a high point value that figure heavily into a student’s grades. Some examples are midterm exams, term papers, and AP tests.
See the top five list of assessment tools in education below for tracking student progress, with tips for how to use them.
1. Socrative - quizzes and questions with real-time grading
Socrative is one of the top-rated assessment tools for teachers according to hundreds of online reviews by educators and professional reviewers alike. It’s an interactive digital tool that lets you quiz, grade, and assess on-the-fly; “at the speed of learning.” Teachers can choose from quick questions for instant feedback, class counts to see who’s logged in, or full quizzes for deeper understanding.
This versatile tool lets you create polls and activities and shuffle questions, with or without student names attached. Quizzes are graded in real time, and you can store them for re-use with other groups. It works on smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices on MS Windows, Android, and iOS. It’s 100% free for students, and it’s simple, flexible, and aligns well with Common Core.
2. Google Forms - easy to use and COPPA/FERPA compliant
The best reason to use Google Forms as an online assessment tool for education? Ease of use. Google Forms is a go-to among teachers because it’s quick and simple to create and automatically grade quizzes even if it’s your first time using the tool. Create multiple-choice quizzes or short-answer quizzes, and make an easy answer key with point assignments for each question.
Google makes it easy for students to answer questions by clicking a drop-down, typing a fast text answer, or posting a short YouTube video. Teachers can view graphs and summaries of frequently missed answers for a quick bird’s-eye view of the class as a whole.
You can also share grades with students at the click of a mouse. It’s COPPA/FERPA compliant, though some teachers note a few concerns around privacy. See UMass’s tutorial on how to use the assessment tool.
“I have been using Google Forms a lot. I also assess by checking their daily IXL and iReady. Google Forms allows me to create the assessment and see fast results,” Margaret Waters Hall, high school teacher.
3. Mentimeter - pre-built education templates
Pro reviewers and teachers score Mentimeter sky high among assessment tools used in the classroom. It comes pre-loaded with education templates for the classroom like a listening skills assessment, icebreakers, formative assessments, post-lecture surveys, and polls. Create quizzes and tests, manage student expectations, engage students, and even run a teacher training workshop.
Mentimeter gives everyone a voice, but it also has a neat feature to mute extra-loud students.
It’s free to use and lets you create and host live quizzes either from its templates or from scratch. Pro versions for schools and universities add unlimited question slides per presentation, exports, unlimited quizzes, and support for a few dollars a month. The interface is 101-level simple, with tech support to smooth the bumps.
4. Poll Everywhere - used by 300,000 teachers
Don’t trust assessment tools for teachers that try to control your every move? Give quizzes, take attendance, and gauge understanding your own way with Poll Everywhere. It integrates with Google apps like Google Slides or MS PowerPoint and Keynote; as you prefer. It’s used by more than 75% of all Fortune 500 companies and by 300,000+ educators around the world. It also works on iOS and Android phones and tablets.
Get a snapshot of where students are struggling by creating questions as word clouds, open student responses, or with multiple-choice options. Then let students answer with their phones, laptops, or tablets.
Teachers can get real-time feedback in their question slides without calling on specific individuals to roll out assessment as an integrated part of a larger lecture. This is a great way to give students a voice in steering the direction of live lesson plans.
5. Kahoot - game-based assessment tool
Students love Kahoot’s game-based approach to learning and assessment. Teachers can choose from more than 40 million ready-to-go learning games or create their own in minutes. Host games live or as assignments.
Students can even create their own “kahoots” to share with classmates, creating an interactive experience. Create a quiz game in minutes, import questions from spreadsheets, and search their 500-million item question bank.
Want to add drawings from iOS or combine several mini-kahoots into a larger assessment? Kahoot can do that, and it can insert YouTube videos into your questions.
Students can plan the assessment games by themselves or as a team, and teachers can add multiple choice or true/false questions to the games. The games are timed and scored, with point scales set up by the teacher. Plus, you can download basic reports in spreadsheets. It’s free to schools, with added features for $12 per year.
More online assessment tools for teachers
Didn’t find a tool you loved in the list above? Here is an assessment tools list with 20 more formative and summative assessment tools for teachers.
- AnswerGarden - Real-time polling and brainstorming tool
- Backchannel Chat - Teacher-moderated Twitter-type assessment tool for education
- Chatzy - Lets students chime in with questions or opinions during a lecture
- Coggle - Mind-mapping tool that lets you get a handle on student thinking
- eSurvey Creator - Make student surveys and questionnaires fast
- Flipgrid - Let students make quick videos that respond to teacher prompts
- Formative - Give live assignments, grade them, and give immediate feedback
- Lino - A sticky-note-based virtual blackboard that lets students chime in
- Naiku - Make quizzes that students can take on mobile devices
- Pear Deck - Create interactive presentations students can take part in via smartphones
- Plickers - Collect formative assessment data in real time with no need for student devices
- The Queue - Free educational chat tool that’s similar to Twitter and facilitates remote class discussion
- Quizalize - Create homework and quizzes quickly, with a fast-grading feature
- Quizlet - Develop tests, quizzes, flashcards, and study games for mobile
- Remind - Send quick texts to students and parents to check for understanding
- Sparkpost - Adobe app that lets teachers create exit tickets with visuals and graphics
- SurveyPlanet - Create quick surveys to get a grasp on student knowledge
- Typeform - Create polls with graphical elements
- VoiceThread - Create discussions around documents, videos, and other materials
- Zoho Survey - Make mobile-ready student surveys and get real-time results
Assessments are for more than grades
During remote learning, teachers will have to evaluate students for more than educational proficiency. The best online assessment tools for teachers let them interact with students on a personal level, often through video conferencing.
How are they feeling? How is everything going at home? Are they able to focus on assignments? Teachers may not come out and ask these questions, but body language cues can telegraph them at a glance.
“Actually seeing and talking to the students through online video calls and communication platforms is so important. Our students can be going through a lot more than we realize being isolated at home. Sometimes the assessment has to be on a level deeper than academics,” Clifford Sullivan, high school teacher, Fayetteville PK-8, Fayetteville, WV
A good screencasting app like Zoom or Flipgrid is a must for gauging student morale. To learn more check out our list of the best screencasting software for teachers.
It’s easy to assess student progress in the physical classroom. Paper tests, quizzes, and spot questions are just a few of the tools used in assessment we take for granted. The best online assessment tools for teachers give the same level of feedback for targeted virtual learning. Our top picks are Socrative, Google Forms, Mentimeter, Poll Everywhere, and Kahoot for their accessibility and features.
These tools allow for easy quiz creation and administration. They let teachers choose whether to host activities live or as assignments. They also allow flexibility for written questions, video chat, and spot-questions. And they provide key features like instant grading, graphs, spreadsheet results delivery, and quick, automatic grade-sharing with students.
About the Author: Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in The Boston Globe, Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.