I had a field day with data after assigning several Nearpod lessons using the “homework” feature this week.

What’s great about the homework feature is that students can take on the lesson and embedded activities and assessments at their own pace. Afterwards, I get a comprehensive report of every quiz question answer (with pie graphs), draw-it slide of student work, open-ended question response, etc. from every student. That translates to a pretty hefty document to review!

I look for trends in the report and share my findings with students the next day. Generally, I have the pie graphs from the report displayed on the smart board as students enter class. This gives them a general idea of their performance as a whole group. They expect this, and it frames our homework review and conversations well before the late bell even rings.

One tidbit I had to share with students came from the Nearpod report from a review lesson on translating expressions. Knowing students were heading toward tackling the TEK below, I wanted a bit of a simple language lesson review to come first (given that we’d just come back from break and all as well):

**8.8(A) Write one-variable equations or inequalities with variables on both sides that represent problems using rational number coefficients and constants.**

What was SO interesting to me was students’ errors translating subtraction expressions. Sure, we expect newbies to translate “five less than a number” in the wrong order, but the Nearpod report showed that the question type made a difference.

For example, when asked to translate a subtraction expression from “words” to “math” using an Open-Ended Question, 89% of the students typed the correct expression.

When asked to translate a similar subtraction expression in a multiple-choice question… well… this happened.

Yes… that says 50%.

Half of my students took the bait and chose the “trap” answer choice. I had a great conversation about this phenomenon with my students.

*1) They reasoned that having four answer choices makes you “have to think less” and that it’s easier to be “swayed” to choose a popularly wrong answer.*

*2) They reasoned that you have to “think more” when answering an open-ended prompt.*

*3) They reasoned that taking multiple choice tests is a skill/game, and proceeded to ask me to propose to administration that I should teach a course on test-taking skills and strategies, and that they would sign up for it.*

Ha! Well, I’m not sure a test-taking course is in the cards for me, but this little doozy surely made my students more self-aware, dispelled the myth that multiple-choice test = “easy”… and also affirmed that perhaps multiple-choice is not the best way to assess mathematics understanding… or is it? Did my students “get it” and then proceed within minutes to “not get it”? Did they feel a false sense of security when their first gut-instinct answer was one of the four choices in the multiple choice question? Why did this happen?

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