Over the past few weeks I’ve focused in on using low-risk formative assessments in the classroom. I continue to find that these types of assessments bring out the best in students. I want my students to feel comfortable enough in class to take an educated guess without negative judgement. Moreover, I want my students to be able to use the formative assessment and teacher feedback to improve their mathematical understanding.
In the past I would give my students a paper exit card. A typical exit card would have a few questions on a half-sheet of paper. The questions would relate to the concepts covered in class. I’d gather up the sheets and write feedback on the pieces for students to read during the next class. I also found that some students weren’t willing to take a risk to showcase their skills. They might leave a question blank or put a question mark in the blank space. I wanted to find a way to increase the willingness of the students to take a risk.
I came across the website Kahoot.it after following a Tweet by Matt. I explored it a bit further and found it to be very similar to Socrative. I enjoyed using Socrative with my classes and thought that Kahoot had some potential to be used for formative assessment purposes.
After creating a teacher account I decided to browse lessons on the site. I was surprised as there were over 160 thousand quizzes in the lesson bank. Many of the lessons were shorter quizzes, but I found some to use with my math classes. The students used the iPads in the class to go to www.kahoot.it and enter the PIN. Many of the students had no problem with this. As long as their device had an Internet browser, students could use a tablet, computer or phone to access the quiz. Once the students all joined the quiz I started it from my computer. The questions popped up on the whiteboard for students to see. You can add your own pictures to the quiz. I found this to be helpful as I took pictures of the classroom and imported them into the quiz.
Students are able to see the whiteboard and read the question. Students answer questions on their device. Their device looks like the image below.
Students receive a certain amount of “Kahoots” for answering the questions in a certain time period. I’m a fan of rewarding quality over speed in math so I give students the maximum time allotted. This can be changed when creating questions. Students pick an answer and at the end of the countdown the correct answer is revealed. During this time I can stop the class to check the answer choices that were made.
This can be a great time to clear up student misconceptions as you can see all the responses without names. I’ve had lengthy math discussions after completing this activity with students. I felt the conversations were rich and gave insight to student understanding. When finished I opted to download a report for later perusal. The report gives all the student response and how long each student took to respond to the answers. Both of these are valuable to me as I can use the student responses to group students and differentiate instruction going forward.
Note: I’ll still be using general exit cards in class, but I’m finding a variety of tools useful in collecting data and providing feedback to students. I’m finding that diversifying formative assessment measures has its benefits. It also gives students a variety of options to showcase mathematical understanding.