Formative Assessments

53 Ways to Check for Understanding


Inside-Outside Circle

Each student writes a question relating to the topic to be used to “quiz” other students. Inside and outside circles of students face each other. Within each pair of facing students, students quiz each other with questions they have written. Outside circle moves to create new pairs. Repeat.

Onion Ring

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.


Four Corners

Students choose a corner based on their level of expertise of a given subject (and gets them up and moving). “Based on your knowledge of _____, what corner would you choose?” 1) The Dirt Road — There’s so much dust, I can’t see where I’m going! Help!! 2) The Gravel Road — I can see where I’m going, but I have to go VERY slowly. 3) The Paved Road — I’m fairly confident but may need to slow down every now and then for potholes. 4) The Highway — I ’m traveling along and could easily give directions to someone else! Once students are in their chosen corners, allow students to discuss their progress with others. Corner One will pair with Corner Three; Corner Two will pair with Corner Four for peer tutoring.


Likert Scale

Provide 3-5 statements that aren’t clearly true or false, but are somewhat debatable. The purpose is to help students reflect on a text and engage in discussion with their peers afterwards. These scales focus on generalizations about characters, themes, conflicts, or symbolism. There are no clear cut answers in the book; they help students to analyze, synthesize and evaluate information. One question on a Likert Scale might look like this: “The character (name) should not have done (action).”

Strongly disagree      disagree      agree      strongly agree


I Have a Question, Who Has the Answer?

The teacher makes two sets of cards. One set contains questions related to the unit of study. The second set contains the answers to the questions. Distribute the answer cards to the students and either you or a student will read the question cards to the class. All students check their answer cards to see if they have the correct answer.


Word Sort

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


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.