Join Kevin Kelly for an in-depth discussion in this video Using clickers to assess learning in the classroom, part of Teaching with Technology.
- In the chapter about facilitating in-class activities, we looked at a few ways to use clickers or clicker apps. Some teachers also use them for assessment of knowledge, skills and attitudes. The value of these clicker-based assessments ranges from no-stakes classroom assessment techniques to low-stakes quizzes to high-stakes midterm and final exams. Use a background knowledge probe to assess students' recall or understanding of required prior knowledge or recent class topics. Create a low-stakes clicker quiz to see what students remember from previous lectures or prerequisite courses.
Here you can see some example questions using Poll Everywhere, a clicker-type app for which students submit responses from their mobile devices. You can also use clickers to assess students' abilities to solve problems. In the movie on active learning, I outlined an activity called Think-Pair-Click. That activity is designed for students to help each other improve their problem-solving skills. The assessment version of these questions might be called Think-Write-Click. You project a problem, they write out their work and enter the right response via clicker instead of Scantron-style fill-in-the-bubble tests.
Some teachers use low-stakes activities like this instead of attendance or participation grades. The format is incredibly versatile. The scope of the assessment depends on the number of questions, the types of questions and what value you assign to them. Some clicker systems allow students to go at their own pace. This means you can provide a traditional paper quiz or exam. Students first enter the question number and then their answer via the clicker or clicker app. Another advantage to clicker-based assessments is that each quiz or exam is graded before the students leave the classroom or lab.
You can even review the results with the students, if there's time. Be sure to allow students to go back and check or change their responses. If you only give students one minute to answer each question before moving on, it adds pressure and negatively affects a wide variety of students. Proctoring clicker exams includes making sure that each student only has one clicker, so they don't answer a question or take an entire exam for a friend. If you are going to use clickers or clicker apps for high-stakes assessments, try a practice quiz first so students get a chance to practice.
Other types of assessment inform you and/or your students about how things are going. The goal of these assessments is awareness, rather than grades. Use the Plus/Delta exercise described in the movie on evaluating teaching effectiveness to focus specifically on aspects of the class format that are working or that might require changes. To helps students assess their own self-awareness, you can ask questions related to how they approach specific material or how they approach learning in general. For example, Eileen Lewis and Elaine Seymour created an attitudinal survey that asks students to rate the extent to which they agree or disagree with statements like, I learn well by doing homework assignments or using diagrams and other visual media or working with a lab partner.
You can create or modify a similar survey and ask students to take it online. If you want to assess student attitudes or levels of engagement, then create questions to solicit student feedback about course materials, activities or even the format, such as flipped or hybrid. For example, use clickers or an online survey tool to ask how they feel about recent class activities. Specifically, have them rate the extent to which it helped them reach a learning outcome. I've mentioned before that some clickers and clicker apps have the ability to cross tabulate.
If your solution has that capability, see if you can save the demographic data about your students and use it for the entire academic term. Before reviewing the next movie, take a minute to answer the following questions for yourself. How will you use clickers or clicker apps for assessment? What value or percentage of the grade will you assign to assessment with clickers? And, how will you use clickers to increase awareness for yourself, your students or both?
Author Kevin Kelly explains how learning outcomes can be adapted to support technology in the classroom, and guides educators through selecting the appropriate technology for their activity, module, or class. Then he shows how to apply technology in three key areas: finding, creating, and sharing content with students; facilitating classroom activities; and assessing learning inside the classroom or online.
- Including technology in your learning outcomes
- Applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles
- Finding and creating content and instructional materials
- Enhancing lectures and presentations with technology
- Getting students involved
- Facilitating in-class activities
- Assessing learning
- Teaching effectively online