One of the recent game-changers in the world of assessment is Google Forms. Great teachers know that formative assessment — whether quick Exit Tickets, quizzes, checks for understanding, or unit tests — is an important part of the cycle of learning and instruction. Knowing where kids are in their learning allows teachers to tailor their teaching to student misunderstandings or successes.
This video provides a great explanation of how to use the “Quizzes” feature in Google Forms. This feature allows you to set up a multiple-choice or drop-down choice “quiz” (it’s called a quiz, but that doesn’t mean you need to treat it as a quiz — it could be a less formal Exit Ticket or check for understanding). You can create a key, assign points (if any), and set it up to e-mail students upon completion. Then, you can “hand out” the quiz through a link or, even better, Google Classroom.
Google Forms allows you to quickly collect information about what students know to determine where you need to go next with your instruction. Using this tool allows you to collect data about student performance so that you can collaborate with colleagues more effectively and examine the performance of sub-groups (including Special Education teachers, who always need data for IEPs). Furthermore, there’s a feature within the Quiz option to give immediate and detailed feedback to students based on their wrong answers (see a detailed explanation on the Google blog). From John Hattie’s research, we know that giving students effective feedback has a significant — if not the greatest — impact on student learning. Google Forms makes it easy for teachers to give the feedback they need to make learning stick.
There are some disadvantages to using Google Forms for assessment. While you can collect short answers and longer answers for open-ended questions in Google Forms, they’re not exactly easy-to-grade. This tool is definitely more useful for multiple-choice type assessments. There is a way to grade those open-ended questions, but the data collection and feedback aren’t as quick or easy. We know that assessment should be about more than just multiple-choice questions (and I will talk about a tool for grading student writing using a rubric next week), so you won’t be able to use Google Forms as your ONLY assessment tool, but I don’t think any teacher would.
All in all, if you’re looking for a way to provide quick formative assessment with built-in feedback and data collection, you won’t find an easier or cheaper means of doing it than Google Forms.