Students: Working with Formative - Quick Start Guide | Formative Help Center (2024)

Click here to learn about the new Student Home Page!

This article is intended for students (and parents of K-12 students) to navigate and use Formative!

We’re excited for you to use Formative this year! Whether learning from a school building or from home, Formative allows teachers to give assignments securely online, assess progress, and more effectively support every student's learning!

  • Allowing the teacher to see responses to assignments in real-time so they can provide feedback and support immediately!

  • Tracking growth by assignments and standards so the teacher and student can understand their progress towards mastery.

  • Facilitating teachers and students to exchange messages about their work securely online.

Formative is safe and private. Students cannot access other students’ work or send messages to other students.

If you need to set up an account or instructions on how to login please see this linked article!

In this article you will learn about:

  • Joining the correct class

  • Navigating your Home Page

  • Taking formative assignments

  • Tracking your progress

  • Communicating with your teacher

  • Troubleshooting

When a Formative Student Account is created on your behalf by your teacher or school administrator, it is most likely that they have already added you to the correct classes, and you will see these classes on your home page when you log in however, that may not always be the case.

By default the classes displayed on the home page will be only classes that had activity (a formative assigned) in them in the last 3 months. If a class had no activity for the last 3 months it will be hidden from view, in this case click on the gear icon (settings) at the top right corner of the screen and then click "show inactive classes" to display a list of them on the home screen as well.

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If you are missing any classes and they are not on the Inactive Classes list either, you will need to ask your teacher to add you to them, or join the classes manually.

To join a class manually, you will need to get either a Join Link or a Join Code from your teacher.

If your teacher chooses to email you a Join Link, simply click that link and once you're logged in to your Formative account, the class will be added to your list automatically.

If your teacher chooses to provide you with a Join Code, log in to your account and click "Join Code" in the lower left corner of your screen (the bottom most option in the left side menu), and proceed to enter the Join Code there. Once entered, the class will be added to your list.

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Please note that if your school uses a system like Google Classroom, Blackbaud, etc you will most likely access your Formative assignments through those platforms instead of directly through Formative. Check with your teacher for guidance!

When logged into Formative, and as long as your teacher assigned formatives to your class(es), you will see your assignments and performance on standards from your home page

Your notifications (the bell icon) will show you any feedback your teacher has provided.

Check out this article for more information on the Student Home Page!

Missing assignments?

If any of the assignments that were assigned to your current class are missing from your home page, please reach out to your teacher to inquire about them. It is likely that the teacher is the one preventing access to these assignments and they can also release them to be viewed again.

If you're missing past assignments from past classes, it is most likely due to the old class being archived by the teacher or the school. Your scores are saved with them in your "inactive classes" list.

Note: If assignments are posted through another system like Google Classroom, you will access them from there

Here is our article about answering every question that goes into detail about the types of questions you may see on an assignment. Please refer to it for technical instructions.

Depending on the settings you teacher chose for the formative, you may have the option to check your score as you are working on the assignment. This option will only be available if the question is automatically graded, no keyboard entries are needed, and your teacher chose to return scores instantly.

Clicking on "Check Answer" at the bottom right corner of the question will allow you to see how you scored on that question. Formative will record the amount of attempts made and will display the number of attempts for your teacher to view.

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As you respond to questions on a formative, a progress bar will be presented to you at the top of the screen. The different icons on the progress bar indicate the status of each of the questions you have completed (see image below for visual references).

These statuses can be any of the following:

  • A red circle indicates there's Feedback from your teacher for this question

  • A red triangle indicates an error in the submission of this question. Please go back and check for anything that needs adjusting

  • A gray circle indicates a question has been completed

  • A yellow flag indicates the question is incomplete, yet not required (you will be able to submit your work without completing it)

  • A red star indicates the question is incomplete and required, meaning you will not be able to submit your work without completing it.

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If your teacher added a Show Your Work box to a required question , and you did not choose to use it, there will be an indication of "Incomplete Non-Required" on the Show Your Work" box itself.

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Once you've finished answering your formative, click "submit" to turn in your assignment. Your teacher will decide if you are able to see your assignment or check your scores after it has been submitted. If you submit before you finish answering, only your teacher can give you access to the assignment again.

Submission summary

After submitting your assignment, a summary report will appear at the bottom of the formative. From this summary report you will be able to navigate into individual responses to view them and any feedback provided by your teacher on them, depending on the settings selected by your teacher you may be able to see your current score and learn if there are any items on your formative that are still awaiting grading by the teacher. If your teacher enabled retakes (multiple attempts) on this formative, you will also see your performance on previous attempts and have the ability to launch a retake from within this report.

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At times, your teacher may choose to allow multiple attempts (retakes) on the same formative. If this is the case, the amount of available retakes will be visible to you on the dashboard.

Where to locate a formative with multiple attempts

The location of the formative with multiple attempts on your lists will depend on its' current status:

  • Newly assigned formatives that you have not attempted yet at all, will appear on the your To-Do Formatives list, and will display how many retakes will be available to you after you complete your first attempt (i.e. the total amount of attempts will be the number of retakes listed + one original attempt. In the example below, you will have a total of 3 attempts - the original attempt + 2 retakes):

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  • Formatives that have been attempted at least once, and still have additional available attempts on them will appear on your Retakes list, and will display the number of remaining attempts:

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  • Formatives on which all attempts have been taken, or that were closed by the teacher (even if not all attempts were taken advantage of), will appear on the your Submitted list. The score displayed will reflect ONLY the last and final attempt submitted, or the final score entered by the teacher manually (if the teacher adjusted the final score for you):

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What happens when you retake a formative?

As soon you have submitted an attempt of the formative, you will be presented with an option to either take another attempt immediately, or to exit the formative and use the option to retake at a later time. The number of remaining attempts will be listed on this pop-up message as well.

If you choos to retake the assignment immediately, the formative will re-open immediately.

If you selects to exit the assignment you will be able to click back into it by locating it on your dashboard under the Retakes list (as shown above) - when you click back into the formative you will again be presented with the option to begin another attempt immediately or re-exit the assignment to retake it at a later time.

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Once you select to Retake Assignment the formative will re-open, and:

  • Any question you previously answered correctly will have the formerly entered answer already filled out on display. While you have the option to change these answers if you choose to, there is no need to do so - the correct answers will be saved and you can skip to the next question.

  • Any question you previously answered incorrectly will appear unanswered at this time, and you will need to enter a new response for the system to grade.

  • Any question that requires manual scoring by the teacher such as question types that are not possible to automatically score (for example, a Video Response) will NOT be saved in between attempts UNLESS already scored by the teacher. If the teacher has not scored them yet, they will be treated in the same way as questions that were answered incorrectly and will appear unanswered upon the following attempt(s), meaning you will need to enter a new response. If the teacher manually scores these before you begin another attempt, the score and the previously entered response will be saved and display for you when retaking the formative.

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Messaging with your teacher on retakes

Any feedback message you receive from your teacher (or send them) on an individual question while taking the formative - on any of the attempts - will carry over to all the following attempts. This will allow both you and your teacher to maintain a flow of communication throughout the whole process - from the moment the formative is assigned to you until the you have finished taking all possible attempts.

Your teacher will determine if you can see your score or look at your assignment after you've submitted it. If you're not able to see your score, check with your teacher, but they may have hidden it from view.

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Many Formative assignments are automatically graded based on your teacher's answer key, but more complicated questions still require manual grading and your teacher may wait until they have finished all grading before giving access to scores.

If your school tracks progress by standard-based teaching, your assignments may have those standards tagged to the questions! You'll be able to track your progress against the standards by using the "Tracker" tab on your dashboard.

Open the Tracker, verify that the filter is set up with the appropriate date range, and view your scores according to the standards.

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If there's nothing here, then your teacher or school may not have tagged the standards to your Formative assignments.

You can also check out your Formative achievements! For every assignment you submit and every question you answer, you'll level up in Formative. Just click on "My Account" and select "Achievements" to see how you're tackling the challenges!

Depending on your teacher's subscription type with Formative, you may have the ability to communicate with your teacher directly through your Formative assignment. If you want to explain your reasoning or ask about a question, just click the little conversation text icon on the right side corner below the question and type your feedback into the prompt:

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Hit "Send" to send it directly to your teacher.

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You can also click on the blue plus sign in the text box to include an image, audio recording, or other content besides just text!

Your teacher can respond or leave feedback for you too! It will show up in your notifications on your dashboard and under the applicable question on the assignment.

You can send messages through Formative only to your teacher and other students will not be able to read what you've written in the feedback section.

As mentioned above, any messages you receive from your teacher (or send them) while taking a formative with multiple attempts on it, will carry over to all the following attempts. This will allow both you and your teacher to maintain a flow of communication throughout the whole process - from the moment the formative is assigned to you until the you have finished taking all possible attempts.

If your teacher is requiring a formative to be launched from the Formative LockDown Browser, when you open the formative you will see a prompt to open the LockDown Browser.

If the LockDown Browser has not yet been installed onyour device file, you will be prompted to download the Respondus LockDown Browser file before being able to enter the formative.

Any application running in the background that needs to be shut off will produce a prompt to shut down the application, and only then the LockDown Browser will launch the formative.

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You can still use the links and embedded materials added into the formative in LockDown Browser mode, however if you attempt to open a link that is beyond what your teacher has added into the formative you will receive a notification that the tab was blocked.

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As you work on a formative secured in a LockDown Browser mode, you still have the ability to communicate with your teacher via the in-app messaging system; and responses will still come in live.

Using the Quit Password

If you are using a Mac, Windows or iPad device and the teacher has defined a Quit Password for the formative, you will be able to use the Quit Password to exit the LockDown Browser.

To enter the Quit Password:

  1. Click on the "i" button on the top left menu

  2. In the popup window - click on "Proctor Exit"

  3. Enter the Quit Password and confirm to exit.

Note: Quit Passwords are supported on Windows, Mac and iPad devices only. They are not supported on Chromebooks.

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The video below will walk you through how to use Respondus LockDown Browser within Formative:

Launching LockDown Browser on a Chromebook

If you are using a Chromebook make sure you launch LockDown Browser by selecting “Formative” from the Apps link on your login screen (see screenshot below). When the Formative App starts, the login page will appear and you can login and navigate to the exam. During an exam, you will be locked into the testing environment until the assessment is submitted for grading. Once the exam is complete you must restart the Chromebook to fully exit the exam. Note: Quit Passwords are not supported on Chromebooks at this time!

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If your Chromebook device becomes non responsive, please take the device to your school's IT department and have them check if the physical power button on the Chromebook is not working and replace the device if that is the case.
On Chromebooks, after you submit your exam there is a page that instructs you to press the physical power button to power down or sign-out to exit the LockDown Browser Mode. On some older Chromebook devices where the physical power button is broken you have no way to exit the LockDown Browser Mode. The only way out in these cases is to pull the battery. This will not affect anything outside of the LockDown Browser Mode as outside of it you can always workaround a broken power button and use the software shutdown instead. For this reason, it is important to have the issue properly diagnosed by IT.

SSO not working - wrong profile

  • If you share your device with anyone else, there may be multiple profiles set up on it. Please make sure you log into your device with the same login you use for Google SSO. Check that your profile icon is correct in the upper right corner of Chrome. Select the correct profile when using SSO.

SSO looping

  • If your SSO is looping you back to the log-in screen or leaving you stuck with a blank screen or error message, try clearing your cache and cookies. (This process differs depending on your browser or device so search for instructions for your particular setup.)

  • If you get an "Oops, something went wrong!" error you may have an unstable network connection. Check your network speed. If you are using your phone to log in to Formative, ensure you are on WiFi or have enough bars of service.

Incorrect password

  • If you normally use SSO through Google, Clever, or MS Teams, you should not be entering an email/username or password. Simply click the appropriate SSO icon and follow the prompts.

  • Verify that you are using the correct email address and not a personal one.

  • You can reset your password through the "Forgot password?" link on the login screen. Just enter your email address and we'll send you a link to reset your password. Didn't get an email? Be sure to check your spam, promotions, or junk folders! Check that you entered the one you use to log into Formative and not a different personal one.

  • If you're in class, you can ask your teacher to reset your password for you as well!

Accidentally signed up as a teacher account:

You may have signed up as a teacher account if your teacher experienced this error while inviting students to your class: "This user currently has a teacher account. Only students can be invited to a section."

You will need to create a student account to join any classrooms. The signup steps above should guide you to create a student account without any issues. If, however, you created an account on your own and accidentally selected a Teacher account, you will not be able to join classrooms or access assignments. If you find yourself unable to join a class, check that you have the right type of account:

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If you accidentally signed up as a teacher, you need to delete your Formative account and sign up as a student.

Log in and follow these directions:

  1. From the lower left corner of the screen, click on your initials and then “Account Info”

  2. Scroll down until you see "Advanced settings," then click on that to reveal the "Delete My Account" button:

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Browser issues:

Many common problems such as "Oops! Something went wrong!" errors are caused by your browser.

  • Ensure your browser is up to date. Formative works best with the latest version of Chrome or Safari.

  • Check your network connectivity. If you're accessing Formative on a phone, ensure you have enough bars or are connected to WiFi.

  • If you have pop-up blockers or ad-blockers installed, these may be preventing certain Formative features from working. Try removing them and other extensions if you run into issues loading parts of Formative.

  • You have to enable third-party cookies and allow website tracking in order to view embedded items like PDFs, videos, audio, or images. If embedded content isn't loading, it is probably cookie settings or a browser extension blocking it.

What's next?

Related Articles

Formative Quick Start GuideEnable Retakes (Multiple Attempts) in FormativeStudent Home PageAssign or Present FormativesManually Entering Student Scores and Completed Work into Formative
Students: Working with Formative - Quick Start Guide | Formative Help Center (2024)


What are the best practices for teachers when using formative assessments to help improve student learning? ›

So, it is critical to implement formative assessments in the correct order in your class, such as:
  • Define Performance Criteria. ...
  • Boost Students' Self-Evaluation. ...
  • Provide Comprehensive Feedback. ...
  • Encourage Peer Discussions. ...
  • Collect Constant Data.
5 days ago

How to use formative assessment to guide instruction? ›

Four Ways to Use Formative Assessments in Your Classroom
  1. 1: Activate Prior Knowledge. This open ended assessment lets the teacher know what the class already knows. ...
  2. 2: Check for Understanding. You just taught something big and complex. ...
  3. 3: Exit Ticket. ...
  4. 4: Warm Up Video.

How to provide formative feedback to students? ›

Examples of formative feedback
  1. Written notes from the instructor. Give students some written feedback on smaller assignments. ...
  2. Audio-based memos from the instructor. Recording an audio message can be a great way to communicate feedback you might have otherwise given in person. ...
  3. Video feedback from the instructor.

How do you engage students in formative assessment? ›

Think-Pair-Share. It is one of the simplest formative assessment strategies. As a classroom practice, the teacher asks a question, and students write down their responses. Then students sit in pairs to engage in effective classroom discussions about their answers.

What are the 4 components of formative assessment? ›

Elements of the Formative Assessment Process

These include (1) identifying the gap, (2) feedback, (3), learning progressions, and (4) student involvement, as described below.

What is the most appropriate formative task to assess the student? ›

The most appropriate formative task (given in between the learning process) to assess the understanding of data analysis among students is a survey-based project.

What is one good example of a formative assessment? ›

Examples of formative assessments include asking students to: draw a concept map in class to represent their understanding of a topic. submit one or two sentences identifying the main point of a lecture. turn in a research proposal for early feedback.

What are the challenges of using formative assessment? ›

How to Fix 5 Common Formative Assessment Problems Teachers Have
  • You don't see a need for it. ...
  • Formative assessment is too time-consuming. ...
  • You see formative assessment as a graded component. ...
  • You feel you lack guidance on how to use it effectively and efficiently. ...
  • Formative assessment involves too much data tracking.
Jul 27, 2023

What strategies could you use to provide students with feedback? ›

How to implement feedback
  • give descriptive feedback where possible.
  • focus on feedback that encourages students to think through their learning.
  • avoid closed questions in favour of posing more open ended ones.
  • keep feedback focused on what's important for the learner - product, process and self-regulation.
Dec 8, 2022

How do you make a formative assessment fun? ›

Following are some fun and subtle ways to approach formative assessments in the classroom.
  1. Use technology. ...
  2. Ask open-ended questions. ...
  3. Share emojis. ...
  4. Ask questions 'on the fly' ...
  5. Exit tickets. ...
  6. Four-finger ratings. ...
  7. Four corners. ...
  8. Think-pair-share.
Jul 26, 2023

How can we hook students to participate actively in formative assessment? ›

1. Give students a voice in their assessment plan.
  • providing students with assessment options.
  • bringing students into the planning conversations around classroom-based assessment.
  • exploring peer- and self-evaluation.
  • training students to apply scoring rubrics to their work and the work of peers.
Jul 11, 2019

What is the role of the teacher in formative assessment? ›

Teachers use the formative assessment process to implement learning tasks that are designed to engage students at the edge of what they know and can do, align with their interests, and leverage what they bring with them from their homes and their communities.

How teachers can use assessment to improve students learning? ›

Assessment data gives teachers the foundation for creating their own individualized plan for struggling learners. Personalizing a student's plan can look very different each time but may include a few similar criteria, such as... a way to track and monitor progress for the student, teacher, and families involved.

When formative assessment strategies are used effectively what is improved? ›

Formative Assessment Ideally, formative assessment strategies improve teaching and learning simultaneously. Instructors can help students grow as learners by actively encouraging them to self-assess their own skills and knowledge retention, and by giving clear instructions and feedback.

How the formative assessment activity more effectively supports and monitors the students learning? ›

Formative assessments come with a plethora of benefits. It can increase student motivation, engagement, self-regulation, and achievement. It can also help teachers identify and address students' strengths and weaknesses, monitor their progress, and give timely and specific feedback.

What strategies are effective for formative assessment in an e learning environment? ›

Strategy 1–3: 'Repeat the test', 'correct answers are not given', and 'ask questions' strategies The combination of two strategies, 'repeat the test' and 'correct answers are not given', in web-based formative assessment will increase e-learning effectiveness (Buchanan 2000).

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