Best Practices - Formative Assessments



3‐2‐1/ Fist to Five/ Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Students communicate their level of understanding to teacher using their fingers

4-3-2-1 Scoring Scale

A posted scale that can be used either as a quick check with hand or a numerical value for students to self‐assess on a written assignment

ABCD Whisper

Students should get in groups of four where one student is A, the next is B, etc. Each student will be asked to reflect on a concept and draw a visual of his/her interpretation. Then they will share their answer with each other in a zigzag pattern within their group.

Circle, Triangle, Square

(Circle) Something that is still going around in your head (Triangle) Something pointed that stood out in your mind (Square) Something that “Squared” or agreed with your thinking.


Electronic surveying devices that give instant feedback and data

Decisions, Decisions (Philosophical Chairs)

Given a prompt, class goes to the side that corresponds to their opinion on the topic, side share out reasoning, and students are allowed to change sides after discussion

Entrance/Exit Tickets

Each student will be given a ticket to complete before leaving the room answering: What is the most important thing I learned today? What questions do I still have? These tickets can be given to the teacher when exiting the room or upon entering the next day. The teacher uses this information to guide the instruction.

Every Pupil Response

Each student receives a pink and yellow card. Each color represents a specific response. Students raise the card to provide the correct response to a teacher directed question.

Example/Non-Example 1

Given a concept, students sort or write various examples/non‐examples

Example/Non-Example 2

Given examples/non‐examples, students determine concept

Fill In Your Thoughts

Written check for understanding strategy where students fill the blank. (Another term for rate of change is ____ or ____.)

Flag It

Students use this strategy to help them remember information that is important to them. They will “flag” their ideas on a sticky note or flag die cut

Give One, Get One

Cooperative activity where the students write response to a prompt, meet up with another student and share ideas so that each leaves with something to add to their list


Draw your handprint. In each finger, write one thing you learned today.

Human Graph

A kinesthetic activity where students in the class physically move to create a histogram, where each student represents a data point rating their view

Interlocking Paper Plates

Two color plates used for students to provide feedback to teacher by sliding the two color sections to show level of understanding

Onion Ring (Inner/Outer Circle)

Students form an inner and outer circle facing a partner. The teacher asks a question and the students are given time to respond to their partner. Next, the inner circle rotates one person to the left. The teacher asks another question and the cycle repeats itself.

Project Study Group

Analyzing incorrect responses in multiple choice questions

Quick Writes

A timed writing in response to a question or prompt (can be used before, during, or after instruction)


A scoring guide using subjective assessments that is generally composed of dimensions for judging student performance.

Say Something

Students take turns leading discussions in a cooperative group on sections of a reading or video

Slap It

Students are divided into two teams to identify correct answers to questions given by the teacher. Students use a fly swatter to slap the correct response posted on the wall.

Student Data Notebooks

A tool for students to track their learning: Where am I going? Where am I now? How will I get there?

Take and Pass

Cooperative group activity used to share or collect information from each member of the group; students write a response, then pass to the right, add their response to next paper, continue until they get their paper back, then group debriefs.

Timed Pair Share

Given a prompt, students pair up and share their perspective for a given amount of time, taking turns (A talks, B listens, then B talks, A listens)

Triangular Prism

Students give feedback to teacher by displaying the color that corresponds to their level of understanding

Word Sort

Given a set of vocabulary terms, students sort in to given categories or create their own categories for sorting

Whip Around

Teacher poses a question and students list three items. All students stand. Teacher randomly calls students to share, if their topic is called they sit. Teacher continues til all students are sitting.


Excerpt from “Differentiating Instruction” PPT presented by Nancy Blair – 404-372-4970


Adapted from