How I Use It
I prefer to use this tool for practice rather than tests. As a Spanish teacher, I need to test many open-ended things, and anticipating and inputting all potential typos is not feasible.
We like to use this in one primary way, though I have used it in others ("exit ticket" option and "student-paced" option). When reviewing or working through a complex concept, I will input about 10-15 questions to create a "quiz". In class, we will first choose the teacher-paced option. This provides a lot of opportunity for discussion of answers and pitfalls. Students seem to internalize a lot of this discussion. After we get through most of the questions, it is time for us to move into a "Space Race". Students get the exact same questions as we just did together, plus a few extra questions at the end. This lets students see the same question again, prompting them to recall our discussion. I am also able to analyze all data at the end.
I love Socrative. I used to have an LRS, but this is free and accessible from smart phones, tablets and computers. It truly works just as well (though it isn't seamless integration into my Promethean flipcharts like Promethean's own paid product was). I love that I can take quick glances at data or look more closely at it. I also love that students can be anonymous on the big screen though I can track their progress and see their names.
The Space Race is great because it is competitive based on accuracy, not speed. Socrative allowing open-ended responses is critical to me. "Multiple choice-only" programs are too limiting for my content area.
The only set-up time is typing in questions. To type in fifteen questions, it takes me about 10-15 minutes. This could work nicely for ELLs because teachers are able to upload images to questions.
Like anything, the effectiveness of Socrative depends on how the teacher incorporates it. We have had great success with it in our classroom!