Just a few suggestions for improving your product

Okay, here are a few things on my wish list after using GF for the past year. Note: I teach high school math, so most of my comments are in reference to those types of questions where students get a diagram or an equation and have to show their work by hand by writing on their screen with a stylus.

  1. 90% of people are right-handed, but Formative is set up backwards for righties. When they click on “Show your work,” the text of the problem and the diagram show up on the right-hand side of the screen, and they have to write on the left half. Which means they can’t see the problem they’re working on because their hand/arm is blocking it. Quick fix: switch the two sides. Better fix: ask the student if they are a righty or a lefty, and customize the screen configuration for each student.

  2. Since most math grading involves a teacher looking at his/her answer key and then comparing that to the student’s work, it would be awesome if I could take my own test (just as a student would do), and then do a split-screen, side-by-side comparison of my work vs. the student’s work. Ideally, you could also improve and speed up the interface for grading each problem: from this one screen (with my answer key on the left and the first student’s work on the right) I should be able to hand-write or type comments, assign a point value to the student’s work, save my feedback, and advance automatically to the next student’s problem.

  3. Cheating is a HUGE problem with online assessments, as everyone knows. I’d like Formative to give me the option of comparing two (or more) students’ work side-by-side, problem-by-problem, to see how similar their submissions are. This feature could be combined with my suggestion #2 above.

  4. Why is the color scale on the point value slider always divided into 4 regions? That should be customized to fit the point value of each problem - a 2-point problem should have 2 colors, a 5-point problem should have 5 colors, etc. Seems like an easy fix.

  5. Why isn’t there an option for extra credit questions, which count towards a student’s point total when earned but don’t contribute towards the overall possible point total? My kids always get mad because Formative tells them they got a lower grade than they actually did. Again, seems like an easy fix.

  6. This one is just silly, but when a student is writing on their screen with the pen tool and then they click away to use something else like the eraser or hand tool, they have to select “scribble” or “line” every time. Why can’t that tool just revert to what was being used last? Easy fix: make the scribble and line options two separate tools, rather than sharing the same icon.

Hope some of this is helpful and can be incorporated for next school year!
T. J. Fontana
DeKalb High School, DeKalb, IL

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