With Socrative, assessment has never been so engaging and fun for both teacher and students. It is a completely free programme accessible from any device with an internet connection and with the option to download two Apps, one for teachers and one for students. When you sign in as a teacher you are assigned a virtual classroom number. When you are ready to administer your quiz students simply sign into their App (or the Socrative website) using your classroom number and they are taken to the quiz.
When creating a quiz you are given the option of multiple choice, short answer and true/false questions. You can provide a visual clue and an explanation in case a student answers incorrectly. Once the students have completed the quiz a full grading report is sent to your email account in Excel format, meaning that you do not have to manually grade quizzes and can instead quickly and easily import them to MarkBook. Aside from anything else, Socrative saves you a great deal of correction time.
What makes Socrative an important means of feedback for teachers is that as the quiz is ongoing you can privately view class or individual student progress on your own device. You can immediately see if the quiz was too easy or too difficult depending on how long students took to answer each question. Importantly, if the majority of students get the same answers wrong you can immediately identify this and reflect upon why this pattern emerged.
As you become familiar with Socrative you will quickly notice some common patterns. Where most of the class spent little time in getting an answer correct it is a good indication that a question was not challenging enough. Where there are high success rates with quick completion times, it may indicate that you are over-relying on recall in your quizzes and you may wish to think of how you can design quizzes that also require students to demonstrate understanding, application, analysis and evaluation. Where there is a mix of right and wrong answers and varying time spent on a single question it is likely that the question was challenging but students did have access to the information to correctly answer it. Where all students got an answer wrong, Socrative gives you an opportunity to address this gap in understanding before leaving the classroom.
The failure to give timely feedback on student work is familiar to many teachers despite their best intentions. The point of any quiz (or any formative assessment) is to identify areas where students have difficulty understanding and to provide clarification for those difficulties. When we simply grade student quizzes without returning to them in a meaningful way we are, in truth, more concerned about having a letter for out MarkBook than we are in ensuring student understanding. When we return quizzes to students, even where written feedback is provided alongside the grade, students are often only interested in seeing their percentage. The percentage or letter grade becomes the sole purpose of the quiz. Once they know their grade it is all too common for that quiz to be forgotten about only to resurface at the end of term when the student next clears out the backpack. Even for organised students it is most likely that that quiz will simply be filed neatly, but without revisiting, until the end of term. The danger is that the longer we leave a quiz unreturned and unreflected upon, the meaning attached to it becomes more about a grade and less about learning. This is especially true where both student and teacher have moved on to a different topic. Ideally, feedback should be immediate.
Socrative offers a valuable opportunity to provide timely feedback to ensure that all students leave your classroom with an understanding of all correct answers to the quiz. Once students have taken their quiz and you know exactly who achieved well on the quiz you can then assemble teams to engage in a “Space Race”. This option allows you to administer the same quiz individually or in teams. Create teams that consist of students who achieved well and those who did not. The idea of the “Space Race” is to introduce a competitive and fun approach to quizzing. Whichever group of students answers most questions correctly in the fastest time wins the race. The activity will engage your students but more importantly you ensure, by carefully assembling your teams, that all students leave your classroom with access to all correct answers on the quiz.
Therefore it is clear that Socrative presents you with several forms of feedback to help you improve your practice and to ensure that your students have a better chance at achieving academic success.