Gearing Up for the School Year

Use Pear Deck for Formative Assessments

Engaging every student and quickly assessing their current understanding of a topic or lesson is an ongoing challenge in the classroom. We created Pear Deck to give educators real, easy-to-use, tools to meet this challenge. As we gear up for the school year, I wanted to go over some simple, creative ways you can insert Formative Assessments into any lesson with Pear Deck.

1. Create Checkpoint Questions

One of the easiest ways to use Pear Deck is to take the key outcomes of your lesson and turn them into questions. Let’s say my lesson is on early civilizations of the Fertile Crescent and by the end of class, I need my students to:

a. Understand the geography of the Fertile Crescent

b. Know why governmental systems become more organized

c. Know the significance of Hammurabi’s Code

In Pear Deck, I can quickly translate these three objectives into Checkpoint Questions.


Of course, you could add other informational slides in here, but you’ve already got three formative questions made and you’re ready to go!

2. Give Every Student Time To Respond

The beauty of Pear Deck is that every student can easily respond to my formative questions. By inserting these Checkpoint Questions after presenting and discussing key information, I can see who’s with me and who’s struggling. I don’t have to wait for a test, I can see each student’s answer in real time and adjust my lesson accordingly. For example, if many of my students are have difficulty shading in the Fertile Crescent, I know right away that we need to do more map practice. If they can’t answer the multiple choice question about the environmental challenges and development of city-states, I can circle back to that part of the lesson or ask another question on the fly that helps illuminate this concept.

I don’t have to wait for a test, I can see each student’s answer in real time and adjust my lesson accordingly.

3. Quickly Determine Student Needs

Properly deployed, formative assessment questions let me assess more than just basic understanding. Let’s say that most of my students picked “B — A surplus of food” as the answer to Question 2, “What helped Sumerians survive through hardships like draught, invasions and a lack of resources?” It’s not just that B is incorrect, their choice tells me that my students are probably confusing cause and effect. The leadership and organization helped Sumeria overcome the environmental challenges and prosper, not the other way around. The wrong answer here provides us with a perfect opportunity to correct an underlying misconception that students really need to get right. Tomorrow, I might reserve class time to do a little activity around cause and effect or assign a reading that will help us go deeper on this concept.