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DoIT Runs Pilot Comparing Clickers to Scantron Testing

BIOL142 Participants to Share Experiences at 11/22 Brown Bag

October 30, 2013 5:08 PM

To help evaluate clickers as a possible alternative to scantron “bubble sheet” assessments, DoIT partnered with Dr. Tamara Mendelson in BIOL 142 “Foundations of Biology: Ecology and Evolution” to conduct a five-week pilot of the Triton Data Collection System (DCS) by Turning Technologies. Mendelson and her teaching assistants from all four sections of the 295-student course will share their experiences during an informal brown bag lunch on Friday, November 22, at noon. A box lunch will be provided for registered participants.

The goal of the pilot was to see if and how students might accept clickers as an alternative to Scantrons when given a choice between the two. During the first two weeks of the pilot that began just after the 10th day of classes this semester, students were only given Scantron bubble sheets for their weekly discussion section quizzes led by one of Dr. Mendelson’s TAs: Archer Larned, Michael Martin, Karan Odom and Tracy Smith. In the next two weeks, TAs asked students to only use the Triton DCS clickers. In the fifth and final week, students were given a choice between the two methods. The results? Overall, 88 percent of students chose the Triton DCS clickers over Scantrons, though individual sections ranged from a low of 81 percent to a high of 95 percent. Individual student comments included the following:

  • “clickers are easier to use than scantrons, clickers are a better quiz method”;

  • “I would like to continue using clickers because it is much more faster since we do not have to fill in a bunch of bubbles or waste paper. It is more fun!”;

  • “clickers are easy and efficient”;

  • “I would like to continue using clickers because once you get used to them they are very easy”.

  • "clickers are easier but I like having all answers in front of me on the scantron"
While the Triton clickers can provide rapid feedback to students and richer insights to faculty about how long students take to answer a question, review their answer or change it, there is a difference between a discussion section quiz and midterm or final exam. By design, neither DoIT, Dr. Mendelson or Turning Technologies wanted to pilot student acceptance of the Triton clickers for a high stakes assessment. However, during the 11/22 Brown Bag, Dr. Mendelson and her TAs will share their experiences about the pilot, and offer their own estimation of whether clickers could work as an alternative to Scantron exams.
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