Website review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2018


Superb real-time assessment tool a fit for 1-to-1, BYOD classrooms

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 22 reviews
Privacy rating
93%| Pass Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration, Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Create simple or detailed assessments in a snap. See student responses in real time.

Cons: Assignments are tailored to independent work and lack opportunities for peer collaboration.

Bottom Line: This is a cleverly designed tool that can gather a variety of student response types and help teachers offer individualized feedback.

One of the best affordances of Formative is the ability to support truly reflective, student-centered formative assessment. Use Formative to bridge the gap between school and home via a flipped classroom model with videos, reading assignments, and written responses, or guide students through an e-learning day with meaningful real-time assessment and feedback. View students' progress as they complete graphic organizers, work out math problems, annotate an image, or work through a science lab. Talk with students digitally, giving them the chance to try, fail, try again, and reflect on their learning processes. Create multifaceted lessons that include warm-ups as well as showing work, watching supplemental videos, and submitting written reflections -- all while giving students a chance to show their understanding via writing, drawing, audio, multiple choice, or other modalities. During or after a lesson, use the data you gather to inform future instruction, eliminating the guesswork and surprises that often accompany standard classroom lessons and traditional assessments.

Two-way communication and options for group collaboration would add to Formative's engagement factor, but even without those, opportunities abound for teachers to connect with and guide students. 

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Formative is a web-based student response and assessment tool for the flipped, BYOD, or 1-to-1 classroom. Upon sign-up, teachers can add classes via class code, URL, Clever, or Google Classroom. Teachers can then choose whether to take advantage of detailed tutorials and a plethora of content showing ideas for use, or they can upload or create assignments on their own that let students type, record audio, enter numbers, draw (with a mouse or their finger, depending on the device), upload an image, answer multiple-choice questions, and more. Students can use accounts (which allows teachers to track their progress over time) or respond without logging in. 

Progress monitoring options are varied, ranging from real-time formative feedback to a student growth tracker, which allows teachers to track student progress by standard. The teacher dashboard lets teachers see student work in real time, and teachers can manually or automatically send back grades or narrative responses in reply.  

In a crowded genre, Formative stands out with its wealth of question types and excellent options for just-in-time, individualized feedback. The ability for teachers to see their students' learning processes in real time is invaluable and allows teachers to intervene and guide student learning before students are too far into a concept. Because of the browser-based platform, it works on any device, making this a great fit from a privacy perspective and from the practical standpoint of how things really happen in the BYOD classroom.

There's a remarkable opportunity for scaffolding here: Teachers can provide as many resources as they wish to support student learning. Students will love how easy it is to use the tool, no matter which device they have in hand, and teachers will love how the features for assignment creation, distribution, and feedback are all thoughtfully designed with the end user in mind. The growing library of premade assignments has potential to be a game changer, but teachers will have to spend some time digging through them to find the gems. Assignments cover a range of topics, and teachers can help curate quality content on the site by rating them. As with any assessment tool, this site's learning potential is only as good as the teacher behind it, so it's up to the teacher to design thoughtful lessons that demand meaningful engagement and thoughtful feedback. Luckily, there's a lot of guidance available to help teachers do just that.

Overall Rating


Being able to write, draw, watch videos, work out problems, and receive specific, instant feedback from teachers will engage students on any device. 


Real-time feedback can help students of all ability levels improve under a teacher's guidance, and teachers can take advantage of the dashboard's great at-a-glance progress tracking to monitor student progress.


Because teachers can add so many types of content, it's easy to accommodate students' different learning needs. The developer's website features great information and ideas for classroom use.

Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Instructional Technology Facilitator

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Meghan L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
McCormick Elementary
Baltimore, United States
Formative: the teacher's dream assessment tool come to life! Engaging, immediate feedback, real-time data, and so much more!
Overall, I think Formative is a wonderful formative assessment tool that any educator would benefit from using (if there is access to computers, tablets, cellphones, etc.). I absolutely love the fact I can see the students’ responses on my screen without having to walk laps around my classroom! The instant data is so helpful for catching misconceptions right away and for planning instruction/small groups. Not only do I receive immediate information, but the students can too with real-time feedback. I ca ...
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is not shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Users retain ownership of their data.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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