Using Formative for Note Taking

Hello! My AP US history students have to do a ton of reading and note taking for homework. I require them to do it by hand lest they simply copy someone else’s typed notes, but it occurred to me that I could have them type their notes in a Formative. That way, a) the kiddos will spend less time on the HW assignments, b) I’ll be notified if anyone copies and pastes, AND c) I can quickly check the HW for completion from my computer instead of having to walk around the room looking at each individual student’s notes.

FEATURE REQUEST: Could student responses get additional formatting options like automatic bulleted lists and/or outline formatting as well as highlighting to help them organize their notes? Or do those options already exist and we’re just not seeing them? Thanks so much!


Taking notes with Formative? Love it! :heart_eyes:
Curious, is anyone else using Formative for notes? Using the copy/paste detection for this is great teacher hack. I’d be glad to chat with the team about getting additional formatting features added.

Currently students can use keyboard shortcuts such as “alt + 8” on a Macbook, for example, to get a bullet point. They can highlight the text to enlarge, italicize, bolden, underline and hyperlink…but I really like the idea taking this up a notch!

When my students highlight text, they don’t get the option to bold, italicize, link, etc. Do you know what we might be doing wrong? Thanks!

Do you know what browser and device they’re using?

Chrome on a Macbook Pro

Okay, cool. Its wonky on touchscreen devices because the device copy/paste features open over top of the formative options, but anything with a physical keyboard/mouse/trackpad is optimized.

I should clarify formatting only works with essay question types for students. Sorry about that.


Oh, that’s what it was then. We were in a short-answer question. Thanks for letting me know that it needs to be an essay question (which is perfect for note taking!).

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I did not know that formatting was available in essay questions. Now that i know, there will be more of those in my student’s future. Thanks.


@lwoodard a few hours ago we rolled out a few more formatting options for essay and short answer questions for teachers and students including bullet points and numbering. :grin:

Thanks so much for letting us know how you and your students use Formative and thank you for the awesome suggestion! Hope they like/use this. Would love to hear any feedback your students give you.


Thank you so much! I will definitely use this feature next year for my AP US history students who want to type their reading notes. With the copy/paste notification, I’ll know they aren’t just pasting in someone else’s notes to save time!

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