The Blame Game

I can’t say enough about how having iPads has impacted formative assessment in my classroom this year.  (Check out any one of these formative assessment posts for details).  Students love the instant feedback that apps like Nearpod, Socrative, and ThatQuiz provide.  However, students often change their tune when iPads are used for assessing something that is *GASP* graded.

UnknownEarlier this year, I could agree with my students when Socrative was used for graded assessments.  It IS very easy to accidentally press the wrong answer choice on a touch-sensitive iPad screen.  Though I asked students to be careful and intentional about selecting their answer choices, I didn’t like the anxiety it caused them to have no recourse if they made a mistake.

Aviary thatquiz-org Picture 1So, I investigated other options and have been using ThatQuiz.org as a replacement.  ThatQuiz allows students to change their answers, and navigate through questions as much as they’d like.  When creating the quizzes, if math syntax becomes too complex to type, I’m able to upload images in the question prompts themselves (a feature I understand has now been added to Socrative too). Students have ample opportunity to review and revise answer choices, and must very intentionally submit their answers to me.

You would think students would be showering me with thanks for providing such a user-friendly platform for assessments.  You would be wrong.

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 12.27.12 PMInstead, I find students blaming the iPad for their mistakes.  I have heard comments about preferring paper to the iPad.  The ironic thing about this recent complaint is that it was made specifically in reference to a quiz whose questions were actually on paper, and the iPad was simply used as an answer-entry tool.

What’s somewhat awesome for dispelling this “blame game” is the data provided by ThatQuiz.  I can select a student’s score, see the correct answers, and see the answers the students chose.  100% of the time, the wrong answers have nothing to do with the iPad and everything to do with a math misunderstanding.  While I like being able to pull students aside and show them the undeniable truth that such data provides, it seems it will take some time to stop blaming the iPad, start owning up to math mistakes, and start being more proactive about preventing these errors.

I also find myself reminding students that, just because a quiz is being taken on the iPad does NOT imply that it’s a “mental math” quiz.  I provide scrap paper for those who need some.  If I don’t do this, I notice kids will just sit there staring at the iPad screen, trying to do math in their heads that was never meant for that!  Perhaps this is just another part of the iPad learning-curve – combining paper-pencil and the iPad successfully in an assessment experience…?

Anyone else experiencing the “blame game”?

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2 Responses to The Blame Game

  1. Michael Podraza says:

    Thanks for posting your experiences.
    Two ideas- If you would like digital copies of student’s work you can have students do/show their work using penultimate or by taking photos of the scrap paper and attaching it to an Evernote notebook. Both apps sync with one another so students could do either.

    • Cathy Yenca says:

      Great ideas – but would the multi-tasking between the assessment and using apps to write or take photos of their work make the task more cumbersome than just taking the assessment on the iPad and doing work on paper?

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