Formative assessments are integral to teaching and learning, providing educators with valuable insights into children's progress and understanding. By incorporating creative and engaging formative assessments into the classroom, teachers can not only gather important data to inform their instruction, but also inspire a love of learning and foster a growth mindset among children. In this article, we will explore creative formative assessments, its benefits and provide examples of innovative assessment strategies that can be used to inspire curiosity, motivation, and enjoyment in the learning process.

Understand creative formative assessments and their benefits

An overview of creative formative assessments

Creative formative assessments go beyond traditional methods and focus on engaging students in active learning while gathering valuable insights into their progress and understanding. Unlike traditional assessments that occur at the end of a unit or course, it occurs throughout the learning process. As its core, these assessments involve observing children during their daily activities, such as play, group work, or explorations. Through careful observation, teachers gain valuable insights into children's social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.

The primary goal of creative formative assessments is to support and nurture each child's growth. Instead of focusing solely on grades or labels, these assessments are designed to adapt instruction to meet individual needs. By identifying areas where children may need additional support or challenges, teachers can provide differentiated instruction that addresses each child's unique abilities and learning styles.

Furthermore, creative formative assessments foster a sense of ownership and engagement in the learning process. By actively involving children in reflecting on their progress and setting goals for improvement, these assessments empower them to take charge of their learning journey.

Creative formative assessments focus on motivating children to learn actively while gathering valuable information about their progress and knowledge.

The benefits of creative formative assessments

Creative formative assessments offer a range of benefits for both children and teachers, including:

  • Engaging and motivating: By incorporating fun and creativity into assessments, teachers can increase engagement and motivation, making the learning process more enjoyable and meaningful.
  • Encourages risk taking and experimentation: Creative assessments provide the freedom for children as they explore new concepts, and to take risks when they develop ideas from that. Plus, learning from their mistakes and iterating their project or work. This approach develops a growth mindset, and resilience.
  • Fosters thinking critically and problem solving: As children engage with their creative assessments, they are often required to think critically, analyse information, and solve problems. These skills are crucial for success in today’s rapidly changing world.
  • Provides a more comprehensive picture of children’s learning: Creative assessments can provide teachers with a richer understanding of their children’ abilities, strengths, and areas for improvement, enabling them to tailor their instruction more effectively.
  • Fosters collaboration and communication: Many creative assessments involve collaborative tasks or require children to communicate their ideas, helping them develop essential teamwork and communication skills.
Creative formative assessments offer a wide range of benefits to both students and teachers in many respects.


Examples of creative formative assessments for the classroom

  • Concept mapping: Encourage children to create visual representations of their understanding of a topic, using drawings, diagrams, or flowcharts to demonstrate the relationships between concepts. This activity not only allows children to express their creativity but also helps teachers identify any gaps or misconceptions in their understanding.
Concept mapping is a good form of assessment to test a child's knowledge and development.
  • One minute reflections: At the end of a lesson or unit, ask children to spend one minute writing or drawing a reflection on what they learned, any questions they still have, or how their understanding has changed. This quick, informal assessment can provide valuable insights into children’ thought processes and learning experiences.
  • Group problem solving challenges: Pose a real world problem or scenario related to the topic being studied and ask children to work in small groups to brainstorm and develop solutions. This activity encourages collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity while providing teachers with an opportunity to assess children’ understanding and problem solving abilities.
  • Creative writing prompts: Use open ended prompts that encourage children to think critically and creatively about a topic or concept. For example, ask them to write a story, poem, or dialogue that incorporates specific vocabulary words, themes, or ideas from the lesson.
  • Design challenges: Invite children to design and build a prototype or model related to the topic being studied, using materials such as cardboard, pipe cleaners, or LEGO bricks. This hands on activity allow children to explore concepts in a tangible way while demonstrating their understanding and creativity.
  • Skits or role playing: Encourage children to create and perform a short skit or role play scenario that demonstrates their understanding of a concept or topic. This activity not only fosters creativity and collaboration but also helps children internalise and apply the material in a new context.
  • Gallery walks: Have children create visual or multimedia representations of their learning, such as posters, infographics, or videos, and display them around the classroom. children can then participate in a “gallery walk,” viewing and discussing each other’s work while providing feedback and reflection.
Organize classroom exhibitions by having children display works that represent their learning.
  • Exit tickets with a twist: Instead of traditional exit tickets, ask children to draw a comic strip, write a haiku, or create a meme related to the day’s lesson. These creative formats can provide a fun and engaging way for children to demonstrate their understanding and for teachers to gauge their progress.
  • Peer teaching: Encourage children to teach a concept or skill to a classmate, using their creativity to explain the material in a way that is easy to understand. This activity not only reinforces the child’s knowledge but also helps develop their communication and teaching skills
  • Interactive notebooks: Incorporate the use of interactive notebooks in your classroom, allowing children to personalise their notes, add drawings, diagrams, or other visual elements, and reflect on their learning. Reviewing these notebooks periodically can provide teachers with insights into children’ understanding and growth.
  • “Two stars and a wish” feedback: Ask children to provide peer feedback on a project or assignment using the “two stars and a wish” format, in which they identify two positive aspects of their peer’s work and one area for improvement. This approach fosters a growth mindset and encourages children to view feedback as an opportunity for learning and growth.
  • Create a quiz or game: Have children create their own quizzes or games based on the material covered in a lesson or unit. This not only encourages creativity but also requires children to think deeply about the content and consider how to assess their peers’ understanding effectively.

Key considerations

Implementing creative formative assessments in the preschool classroom requires careful planning and consideration. Keep the following key considerations in mind:

  • Age appropriateness: It is crucial to consider the developmental abilities of preschoolers. Choose assessment methods that align with their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical capabilities. Activities should be engaging, hands on, and suited to their interests and needs.
  • Individual differences: Recognise and respect the diverse needs, strengths, and learning styles of each child. Adapt assessments to accommodate different abilities and provide opportunities for children to demonstrate their understanding in various ways. Differentiated instruction ensures that all children can actively participate and showcase their progress.
Children of different ages, with different interests and abilities, need a different way of assessing.
  • Authentic and meaningful assessment: Engage children in assessments that reflect real world contexts and authentic learning experiences. Connect assessments to topics and activities that are relevant and meaningful to children's lives. This approach fosters deeper understanding, motivation, and application of knowledge.
  • Assessment frequency: Implement formative assessments regularly throughout the preschool year to monitor children's progress continuously. Frequent assessments provide a comprehensive view of each child's development, allowing for timely interventions, adjustments in instruction, and targeted support.
  • Integration into daily routines: Integrate formative assessments seamlessly into daily routines and activities. This approach creates a natural and organic assessment process, reducing stress and promoting a positive learning environment. Assessment opportunities can be embedded within play, group activities, projects, and individual tasks.
  • Balance of assessments: Use a variety of assessment methods and tools to gather comprehensive information about children's learning and development. Combine observations, conversations, work samples, and other creative assessments to gain a well rounded view of each child's progress. This balanced approach provides a holistic understanding of their abilities and growth.
  • Documentation and reflection: Document and reflect on assessment data to inform instructional decisions and communicate progress with stakeholders. Maintain records of observations, samples of children's work, and notes on individual progress. Regularly review and analyse this information to identify patterns, areas for improvement, and to celebrate children's achievements.
  • Cultivating a supportive environment: Foster a supportive and non threatening environment where children feel comfortable and encouraged to demonstrate their understanding. Emphasise the process of learning rather than focusing solely on the final product. Provide constructive feedback that highlights strengths and suggests areas for growth, fostering a growth mindset.


Creative formative assessments can play a vital role in fostering a love of learning, enhancing engagement, helping children to think critically, and problem solving skills. By incorporating innovative assessment strategies into the classroom, teachers can create a more dynamic, enjoyable, and effective learning environment that inspires children to embrace the challenges and rewards of the learning process. Furthermore, these creative assessment techniques can provide educators with valuable insights into their children’ progress and understanding, enabling them to adapt their instruction to better meet the needs of their learners. By embracing creativity in the assessment process, schools can empower their children to become active, engaged, and motivated learners, prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world.