The goal of assessment is to improve instruction and provide student feedback. However, many of the standardized assessments take so much time to administrator and grade that many teachers often aren't able to use the data immediately in the moment.

Many researchers have conducted many studies on the benefits of using assessment as a resource to help students learn and self-monitor their growth (assessment for learning). Thus, assessment doesn't just help teachers by making student thinking visible, it also supports students in understanding their learning.

Enter tech tools and resources. The following five digital tools are free and quick, and they can provide the teacher with valuable data that can be used to adjust instruction, correct student misconceptions in "real time" and differentiate the learning path.

1. Plickers

Plickers is a classroom response app that teachers can use easily without having devices for every student. Students hold up a plicker QR code to signal their answer to a question posed by the teacher. The teacher scans the room, and the smart device picks up their answers and displays the students' answers visually.

Prep Time: Minimal

Benefits: Live data helps identify misconceptions and mastery on the spot.

Accounts: No student technology needed at all. Check out the amazingness of plickers in 1 minute.

2. Socrative

Educators can initiate formative assessments through quizzes, quick question polls, exit tickets and space races by sending out a tailored class code.

Prep Time: Moderate

Benefits: Socrative will instantly grade, aggregate and provide visuals of data.

Accounts: No account needed. Just your teacher room number.

3. Padlet

A virtual corkboard in which students can answer questions, post pictures and respond to peers questions and comments.

Prep Time: Minimal

Benefits: Every student can see their peers' comments within the classroom padlet.

Accounts: The teacher can sign up for free at Teachers provide students a link to comment on the board.

4. Zaption

Teachers can turn precreated online videos into interactive learning experiences that engage students and deepen understanding.

Prep Time: Moderate

Benefits: Teachers have the opportunity to embed questions to chunk learning, make videos student-centered and check for understanding.

Accounts: The teacher can sign up for free and send video to students.

5. Whiteboard

A virtual whiteboard where students can answer questions, post questions or respond to peers' questions. As an added bonus, if students have Chromebooks, they can use the touchscreen to create and draw pictures.

Prep Time: Minimal

Benefits: Stop and embed questions throughout the class period to assess student learning. Make students' thinking visible and provide immediate feedback.

Accounts: No account needed. Just a link if you want to invite students to a specific board.

In conclusion, not only are these digital assessments fast and informative, but they also engage students by utilizing a different modality and adding novelty to classroom instruction. As always, I suggest starting small. Choose one tool that matches your class and instructional needs, and dig deep into using the tool consistently to adjust and differentiate instruction.