Concept map and voicethread

I have made my first attempt to create a formative assignment!

The unit title is School life and routine and I would like to develop students’ efficacy and agency through studying this unit. “Personal efficacy and agency” is a very big word. I first use Short Answer function for student define what “personal efficacy and agency” means. As I anticipated, they did not know and have never heard of it. They did a bit of research and began to know a bit of it. (This is only concept developing and establish the purpose of studying this unit. I do not expect them to know how to use these words in Chinese. They are beginner students.) After their initial search, I put up the photo of a continuum of self-efficacy and we talk about how the school can help students learn and develop efficacy and agency.

Then I embedded Voicethred and ask them to describe the photos. After 3-week holidays, I need to find out how much Mandarin they remember. They will describe the photo for two minutes. After this activity, I will introduce a short text regarding school life.

I am excited to discover more how to use GoFormative!



Hi @alison

I love the way you used the Short Answer option to get an insight into how learners perceive and understand:

When scaffolding arguably complex terms which include a number of connotations (often due to social media), I have begun with a Multiple Question type (e.g. ‘Which of the options below best defines an idiom?’). I make the choices fairly similar so it is not too easy and then I can embed a link to a site (often the OED) that will give the learners the opportunity to ‘research’ the answer themselves.

For further questions, I then move onto to Multiple Selection type questions where the learners need to understand the qualities or ‘truths’ of the term (e.g. ‘Which of the following is TRUE of an idiom?’). Following these kinds of questions, the Short Answer questions which you mentioned allow me to determine the higher-order thinking/understanding of the learners (e.g. ‘Why would It was raining cats and dogs be an inappropriate idiom with discussing the man’s secret plot?’). And finally, I could ask, ‘Could you suggest a more appropriate idiom?’ (which would be ‘having a trick up his sleeve,’ for example).

I’ve only used Formative for just over a year but I echo your excitement! Updates and adaptations occur so quickly that there is no ceiling of limitation with this platform!

I greatly look forward to hearing your other ideas!


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Hi Ant,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Interesting that you mentioned multiple choice questions. I just started to read Making Good Progress? by Daisy Christodoulou. In her book, she argues that multiple-choice questions are particularly useful, but they have an undeserved bad reputation. Her argument is short answer question can give a good idea of how well our students were doing but not necessarily what they needed to work on next. On the other hand, well-design multiple-choice questions require the same kind of thinking as the essay question, but in a more targeted way which makes the answer easier to interpret.

The teachers should have ideas what possible misconceptions that students have and can confirm these through multiple questions. There is a difference between teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and teachers’ subject matter knowledge.

I rethink the value of multiple-choice questions and will definitely be experimenting some soon. In @Lisa_Scumpieru’s video, she shared using questions stems to create questions. I found that is very useful.




Thanks @alison !

This is a great topic of discussion, indeed!
I agree with that multiple-choice have a bad reputation for being too easy and yes, it is the difficulty of the question that counters this rep.

I spoke to a friend who recently completed her degree to become a medical doctor and she said that many of her assessments within the first two years of study were multiple-choice and due to the similar options, she found it particularly challenging compared to the more open-ended essay-types.

Thanks for the link too! I will check it out now!



Great use of visuals and embedding a video. Especially since it was your first attempt. You will go far with this tool!



I had never heard of Voice Thread before. It looks like an interesting tool for having students share their thoughts in a variety of ways and it seems to pair nicely with Formative. Great work embedding it!

What a great point to bring up! To add on, I think that with the aid of things like the Formative Totals/Summary view, multiple choice can sometimes give you quicker insight into student progress and trends. I think that what can also make multiple choice powerful is being intentional about your use of it and thinking about what certain answers will tell you in advance.

@apeters great job using a variety of different questions to help students engage in different levels of thinking!