Formative Assessment Ideas for Science

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Formative assessments are a type of assessment that teachers use to gauge their students understanding. These assessments often help to inform instruction. In this lesson, we'll explore formative assessment ideas for science.

What Are Formative Assessments?

Formative assessments are non-graded assessments that can tell you if students are understanding a topic as they learn it. These assessments will let you know if you need to alter instruction, backtrack to review confusing topics, or just touch on individual questions as needed. In this lesson, we'll explore a few quick and active formative assessments that you can use mid-lesson. We'll also look at a few assignment-based assessment ideas that incorporate classwork or homework.

Quick and Active Formative Assessments

There are some quick ways to get a gauge on how students are doing in a subject.

Red, Yellow, Green

Provide every student with three traffic light pictures: red, yellow, and green. When you want to gauge your students' comprehension during an activity, ask them to hold up the sign that corresponds with their feelings. Red means students need another review; yellow means you can proceed if they can ask questions; and green means all is well. This can be accomplished with hand gestures as well, such as thumbs up, thumbs down, and flat palm. Use whatever method is easiest for you and your students.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account