Socrative is a formative assessment tool that helps teachers and learners to assess learning and progress.
An assessment tool
Formative assessment has become a key feature of classrooms in recent years. It helps teachers know where to go next in a lesson or course, and it also encourages learners to better understand where they are in their learning, where they need to go and how to get there – something which educational research suggests is important for more effective learning.
Socrative is a formative assessment tool which allows a teacher to check understanding of all students during a lesson, rather than just those they nominate or who put up their hand. It’s designed for use in class, in real time.
There are four key features:
- Quiz – this allows teachers to create multiple-choice, true/false or short-answer question quizzes that they can save and use again. In class, the teacher launches the quiz and students complete it in real time on their devices.
- Space Race – students complete a quiz, but this time they compete against each other to get a spaceship from one side of the screen to the other.
- Quick Question – the teacher asks a multiple-choice, true/false or short-answer question orally or writes it on the board. Students use Socrative to choose the correct answer.
- Exit Ticket – students reflect at the end of a lesson. There are two inbuilt questions (How well did you understand today’s material? and What did you learn in today’s class?). The teacher sets the third question orally or on the board, which could be a question such as What three new words have you learned today? or What did you find difficult about today’s lesson?
As students answer the questions, the teacher can see the results and then download them. The teacher can then make more informed decisions about what happens next in the lesson.
Incorporating Socrative into a lesson
Imagine you’ve just taught students how to use the present perfect and you want to know if they’re ready to move on to the practice stage of the lesson. Using the Quick Question tool you can ask them two or three short-answer questions to check that all the students have understood the tense. You can use the results to assess whether students are ready to try and use the tense or still need help understanding it.
After practice, at the end of the lesson, students can complete the Exit Ticket questions to reflect on how well they understood the lesson and if they felt they used the tense well during practice. The teacher can use the results, along with data they collected while monitoring, to decide whether students need more work on the tense or not. In the next lesson, the teacher could give students a quiz to help them review the tense to see how much information they remember.
You could also use Socrative to assess reading or listening comprehension. It’s quick and easy to enter multiple-choice questions and the correct answers in the Quiz tool. You can also add information about why an answer is correct in the ‘explanation’ box, which could be very useful for exam classes.
Benefits and limitations
The teacher needs to create the Quiz content, which can take time. Teachers can share quizzes with each other via a link, but they can’t search for pre-made quizzes as they can with other tools. As the teacher needs to give the questions orally or on the board for the Quick Question, it can sometimes confuse new users (e.g. me when I first used it!). The Help Centre is a good place to go to learn how to use it.
While the Space Race can add fun to quizzes, there are other tools which do this better. However, Socrative has flexibility. When launching a quiz you can choose whether you want students to get instant feedback on their answers, work at their own pace or start and finish each question at the teacher’s pace, for example. Different modes will be appropriate in different situations.
For me, one of the most useful features of Socrative is the Exit Ticket. It can provide valuable information from students at the end of a lesson or unit on how they feel about their learning. Unfortunately, the two questions given within the tool (see section above) aren’t always appropriate for language lessons where students practise language rather than learn new language. However, the third question the teacher can create helps to overcome this issue and teachers could ask students not to answer the first two questions and add their own.
Finally, the free version offers one room with a maximum of 50 learners and there are plenty of features for effective, regular use in class. It’s easy for teachers to sign up, create quizzes and launch them in class. Students don’t need to register, they simply put in a room number linked to your account. All this makes it an easy-to-use tool for both teacher and student. For 10 rooms and up to 150 students per room, you need the paid-for version.