Socrative helps me manage formative assessments in class by providing a super-slick interface and great results in a spreadsheet. As happens to most of us at the end of the year, I fell off the wagon and had all but stopped using the tool. My colleagues and I today devised a way to conduct regular and meaningful formative assessments in class with Socrative. I believe this workflow will work especially well when the problem is a ranking task.


It’s 8:30 on Tuesday morning and you enter my classroom, wiping sleep from your eyes. On the board, I’ve projected this image:

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As the teacher, I’ve set up a Socrative poll as follows:

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You’ve done this before, so you know to pull up Socrative on your computer or your smartphone. You ponder the question, make some notes, rank it, and write a justification. You submit the justification while the rest of the class does the same. It looks like this:

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As my student, you’re learning how to write a clear & concise explanation that’s accurate. Regular exposure (say every other class day? I’m not exactly certain yet) means your routine demands you consider why as more important than what.


  1. Grab a good problem that requires justification of the answer.
  2. Open a Socrative “short answer” problem type.
  3. Invite kids to solve the problem, join the room, and submit their justification only in the answer space.
  4. Vote on the best justification using the mantra of “concise, clear, and accurate.”
  5. Discuss.