What strategies do you use to keep students engaged while formatively assessing?

Hey everyone!

Yesterday, Formative Certified Educator, @tbreaux1 hosted our #formativechat on Twitter and once again, we thought it would be a great to continue the conversation in our community! Feel free to reply to the question below and share how you are keeping students engaged while assessing them! We’d love to hear your thoughts :smile:



My students are always more engaged when a game or competition is involved.

We consistently use Kahoot (at different stages of learning) - it gives some good insight into what the students know (minus the questions where they “accidentally hit the wrong button”) and they get surprisingly competitive about earning a spot on the podium and a sticker.
We also use Prodigy Math on a daily basis (even students who typically don’t like math will do 100+ problems each week to level up in the game).
We also set up team competitions like multiplication war, grudge ball (easily adaptable for any subject), and whiteboard races. These require a little more work from the teacher to keep track of what content students are struggling with and need to be reviewed (vs having a computer platform give you the stats), but it is still easy to do so.


@Darcey_Teasdale Thank you so much for sharing! I love ll of these ideas! I’d be interested to hear more about what made Prodigy Math engaging for your students! Also, I’d love to hear more about multiplication war, grudge ball, and whiteboard races. Maybe there is a way that they could be applied to Formative to help with the data tracking piece!

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I find that when I give them immediate feedback, whilst they are answering, students stay most engaged and also are able to respond to suggestions and guidance better.


Prodigy Math Is a free (with optional paid membership) game that I integrated into my classes a few years ago.(I have my students sign in with their Google Log-in) Students create an avatar, solve math problems to battle and catch creatures. They can also challenge each other to a battle. As they solve problems correctly they level up (and can evolve their pets). It is very similar to Pokemon honestly. Prodigy will take them through a diagnostics test at the beginning and will give them skills they’ve identified that they need to work on. I can also assign skills to the whole class or select students and will be able to view students answers and get regular reports on skills mastered and skills to work on for my class. They also have an extensive test-prep plan you can assign.

These other games are quick ones to put together and take up as much class time as you want. They are frequently requested to be a part of Math Centers or an early finishers activity.

Multiplication War: you will need a deck of cards. Take out the face cards. Students flip cards like war - whoever multiplies correctly gets the cards. Write additional directions on the face cards to add into your deck. If they flip over one of these, they will need to flip over another card sometimes (Ex: Find the area of the Triangle (you’ll need 2 number cards for base and height; Square the number, Divide instead of multiply, Find an equivalent fraction, What is this fraction as a decimal to 2 places, etc.).

Grudge Ball This is a game I discovered on Pinterest awhile ago. Split your class into 2+ teams. Their team name goes on the board with 20 (or however many you want) Xs underneath it. Teams take turns answering questions that you have prepared. If they get it right they get to shoot a basketball (I use a small nerf ball) that they shoot into a basket, bucket, or whatever you want to use (make a clear line that they have to stay behind to shoot to keep things fair). If they make the basket they get to take 2 Xs off an opponents tally, If they don’t they get to take 1 X off. (You must have at least 1 X under your team to take Xs off, so the team can earn Xs if need be before they take off Xs from another team).

Whiteboard Races You prepare a list of questions. Students have their own individual whiteboards (or give them a section of your whiteboard to work on). Teams or individuals race to solve the problems first. There are variations on how they get the point: hold up the whiteboard first, run to the whiteboard and write the answer first, raise their hand and answer, etc.

Right now these games are low-tech, but quick and easy to put together, but the students love the competition (and especially love when they get permission to throw something in the classroom)



Prodigy Math: Thank you so much sharing more about this. I had checked out their homepage, but didn’t see the Pokemon component. I could see how this could be super fun for students!

Multiplication War: This sounds like a such a fun game! I thought about how you might be able to apply it to Formative to help with the data tracking piece and came up with this example! As you can see, I found a playing card shuffler and embedded it into the formative. Students can hit the “Again” button for it to show two random cards. They could then write the equation they were intended to multiply as well as the answer in a “Short Answer” question below it. If you want to eliminate face cards from the deck, you can change the settings before embedding it. If you wanted students to use alternative rules, you could specify at the top of the formative what combinations would lead to them (Ex: If you draw a pair, you divide the two numbers)! I hope this is useful to consider as a way of keeping the “fun, random” aspect of the activity alive and I’d love to hear what other @Math_Educators think as well!

Here’s the site I used to create the i-frame to embed within formative! I just pasted the link from the Playing Card Shuffler site to generate it and then pasted that into the Embed block on Formative!

Grudge Ball: This sounds super fun too! Sometimes no/low tech truly is the best option!

Whiteboard Races: This is a great activity too! If you’d ever like to try this with formative, you could set up a formative with a series of “blank” questions and then add equations to the question text as you conduct the activity. Students will just need to re-fresh the page to see the equations that you add and then you can view the “View Responses” page to see which team/individual comes up with the right answer first. You could project this and talk about about each question if you’d like! I’d love to hear what other @Math_Educators think of this activity too!


I’m excited to try multiplication war on Formative - thanks for making and sharing!


I agree that students are more engaged when it is in a game-like format or if there is competition. We use Schoology, so I award students with badges and we have a badge leader board in my classroom to keep track of how many badges each class earns.


@jennifer_trout I love the idea of using badges in the classroom! We actually had a #formativechat (our weekly Twitter chat) about using badges for formative assessment. Teachers shared a lot of great ideas for implementing them:



I came across this new Edutopia article on making engaging assessments and thought I’d share it here :slight_smile:


Hi David and everyone who participates in this great learning community. I am from Peru and I tell you that since I met formative, I do not stop using it to promote personalized learning. Thanks to this tool allows me to clarify doubts and concerns of each student and make group feedback in my classroom. Since I shared this experience https://twitter.com/LUISDAVILABAND1/status/984542894781542401, my Spanish colleagues at #MathTeam have been interested in using it in their classes.
I usually use different methodologies in my Mathematics classes. Flipped learning using playposit or edpuzzle, then gamification using kahoot or plickers; collaborative work, using the G suite tools and of course a personalized education with formative.
Thank you for sharing your experiences.


@LUIS_DAVILA_BANDA Welcome Luis! We are very happy that you’ve joined our community :slight_smile: Peru is hands-down my favorite country (that I’ve visited)! When you get a chance, I invite you to add your pin to our map to show everyone where you are from and check out where other community members are from as well!

It’s great to hear that you use a variety of different tech tools to keep your students engaged :sunglasses: :+1:


Agregado al mapa, parece que soy el único. Lo asumo con una gran responsabilidad para seguir fomentando el uso de esta gran herramienta de formative. Qué sigan los éxitos. Un abrazo.


I just recently gave you a shout-out on Twitter for you awesome ideas :slight_smile: ! Not sure if you are on there, but if you are, we’d love to tag you in the future!


I am inspired to have white board races tomorrow in my class. Though, b/c I travel and there is not a white board set in each room, and it is too much to carry, I have the students use their “noteboard” In their binders, they have a page protector with a white sheet of paper. This way, I don’t have to pass out boards all the time.

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