The phrase "Time for your test!" can bring many negative emotions to the minds of your students. Testing is associated with silence, stress, and sometimes the ability to pass a class. When you really think about it, are assessments fun? Ever? It doesn't have to be this way! How great would it be to make quizzes for students that they'll actually enjoy taking?
In my classroom, we use game-based formative assessment tools like Kahoot!, Quizizz, and Quizlet Live. These websites offer teachers the ability to create fun, collaborative activities and quizzes for students for free! If you're not looking to reinvent the wheel with your quizzes, you can search these sites for activities that have been created by other teachers, which cover pretty much any topic you can think of. (There are several Harry Potter Kahoot! quizzes that I may have played on my own just for fun.)
Kahoot! encourages students to answer questions correctly by awarding points based on speed and accuracy. Students can play these games on any online device and join by entering a pin and then their name. To make these activities even more fun, I encourage my students to enter "gamer tags" instead of their real names. After each question, students can view their rank on the leader board.
Further reading: 5 Strategies to Bust Test Stress
Kahoot! offers a few different activities for teachers, but the quiz feature is what I use most. To create a quiz, simply sign up for a free account (did I mention this is free?) and then click "Quiz." Next, you'll be asked to create a title for your activity and include a description (you can use hashtags!), along with other features of your quiz. At this stage, teachers can also upload an image to use as the icon for the quiz and even include a YouTube video to play in the background while your students join the activity!
After you've entered this information, you can start creating your activity. Keep in mind that questions and response options in Kahoot! have a character limit, so try not to be long-winded. When you're ready to play the game, simply project it on your whiteboard and direct your students to log in with their pin and name. When everyone has joined, you're ready to go! The question and responses will be displayed on the whiteboard, and students will only see the colors and shapes that correspond to the responses on their devices. Kahoot! offers "classic" and "team" modes for playing the game. We use the classic mode in my classes and my students love it.
Similar to Kahoot!, Quizizz allows teachers to sign up and create games for free. Quizizz is one of those fabulous websites that offers a Google login—so you won't have to worry about forgetting your username or password. This site allows teachers to create games, search public games, and even search for and add questions from a public bank. Like Kahoot!, students join Quizizz sessions from an Internet-enabled device with a game pin and their name, but the questions and responses are displayed on students' individual screens. Additionally, some pretty hilarious memes appear when students submit a response!
Add incentives to these activities by offering bonus points or other perks to students who make their way to the top three positions. In my gamified classroom, my students earn XP (experience points) for completing assignments and Bonus XP for finishing in the top three spots on Kahoot! and Quizizz review activities. I also award Bonus XP to a randomly selected student to encourage everyone to try their best. Reward systems like this are a great way to motivate students.
Quizlet Live is another game-based assessment option. The fantastic flashcard feature on this site creates a fun, collaborative review activity where students work in groups to choose correct responses. One of my absolute favorite aspects of Quizlet Live is that it promotes mastery learning. If a group misses a question, they have to start the entire deck over again. Quizlet Live is a lot of fun, and it's a great way to review unit concepts and vocabulary. We have weekly "vocab days" in my classroom, and students use Quizlet Live to review the current content, return to the first vocabulary deck of the year and work their way back to the present. Bonus XP (mentioned above) is also awarded to the winners of Quizlet Live.
To get started with Quizlet, simply create an account. Quizlet offers two account types for teachers: a free account and a premium account that costs $34.99 annually. Next, create a flashcard deck with at least 12 terms and definitions. You'll be able to see a variety of different options for reviewing your flashcards, including Learn, Gravity, and Live. To play Quizlet Live, simply select Live, then "Create Game." You'll see a six-digit code that you'll share with your students. To start the game, at least six students need to join, and Quizlet will randomly assign them to different teams with animal mascots. It's so much fun!
Further reading: Incorporating Formative Assessments into Your Curriculum
Assessments don't have to be a drag. When you put some thoughts into quizzes for students, you can come up with something that's engaging and educational. Liven up your lessons with these tools and encourage your students to have fun while they learn!