All Collections
Student Resources
Students: Working with Formative - Quick Start Guide
Students: Working with Formative - Quick Start Guide

Learn how to navigate your dashboard, access formatives, view scores and communicate with your teacher!

Neta Raz Studnitski avatar
Written by Neta Raz Studnitski
Updated over a week ago


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!

Formative's benefits:

  • 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.

In this article you will learn about:

Joining the correct class

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.

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.

Navigating your Home Page in Formative

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.

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

Responding to formatives / assignments

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tracking your progress

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.

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.

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!

Communicating with your teacher

You can 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:

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

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.

Troubleshooting Common issues:

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:

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:

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?

Did this answer your question?