Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Formative Assessment: Classkick, Nearpod and Socrative

Formative Assessment: Classkick, Nearpod and Socrative

Having met these three apps last year, I am steadily getting to grips with using them to best effect in French. They each have different characteristics which means that they often sit well alongside each other as a suite of assessment tools, whether for formative assessment, giving me an idea of where pupils are in their learning of a topic or grammar point, or summative assessment, showing me the point reached by each pupil at the conclusion of a unit of work.

I will create a page outlining how I am using each of these in Primary MFL, but let me give an overview of each here in brief.


This very simple and appealing app allows you to set an assignment to be done live in the classroom by signing in with a code. Pupils work on their own iPads and you can see and interact with their work, giving live feedback and marking. You can type, write, add a photo (of a worksheet, for example) or a web link. Pupils can write or type their responses. Easy to use, delete, change text colour etc. Excellent quick marking possibilities.


I was lucky enough to arrange a remote Nearpod tutorial session run by those very kind gentlemen at iPad Educators for interested staff at my school. It was excellent and gave us loads of food for thought, and I went away and experimented with various tools in the Nearpod box: multiple-choice quizzes for homework, or in the classroom but pupil-paced, cloze gap-filling exercises, live quizzes as a class. There are quite a few other features that Nearpod has but I haven't fully exploited these as yet. However, I have heard that people see it as just a web-based alternative to Powerpoint presentations and I couldn't find that further from the truth. There is a large amount of pre-made material to purchase or have for free but I've found absolutely nothing of use to me so I create everything from scratch and find that it's quick, intuitive and easy to use, producing beautiful quizzes tailor-made for my needs. It marks them for you and you can analyse and download the results to give individual feedback, for evidence or to mark progress.


This was one of the first assessment tools I was introduced to when I got my iPads and my first reaction was that it was very fiddly to use with small buttons and a slightly old-fashioned appearance. However, it underwent a revamp and looks more attractive now with slightly improved user interface. I use it predominantly to assess simple writing tasks as the final application of a unit of learning, whether grammar or topic phrases and sentences. Its one drawback for me is that it requires absolutely precise responses from pupils which exactly match your specimen correct answer, marking pupils wrong if they put in an extra space, or a capital or full stop which you didn't have in your example. However, children do get used to that and it does breed greater accuracy among some, though not all! It marks for you and again you can download the results in an Excel spreadsheet, allowing you to manipulate the spreadsheet and override answers which you deem right but which the app recognised as wrong.

I've been using these three tools this term to get my pupils to apply their learning of my new initiative, a progressive verb learning programme which I start at Year 4 and take right through to the end of Year 6. My hope and plan is that the children will go up to Secondary with a sound grasp of verb conjugations in the present tense, with simple future added to that. Using the iPads makes this potentially dry area of MFL more fun!

I will write a future post with more details about this initiative but suffice to say that I use all three apps to get the children to apply their understanding of the verbs: Classkick for simple recall, like a vocabulary quiz, Nearpod for them to recognise and discriminate which verb is correct from a choice of four similar sentences, and Socrative allows them to show their skill - or otherwise - in applying that verb in a simple sentence.

Using these three apps means that I'm quickly amassing a sizeable amount of data on reading and writing skills and it's encouraging me to work towards reporting on my pupils across the four skills of MFL - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking - as I am building a more comprehensive bank of evidence than I had previously.