i’ve got to admit it’s getting better

 

Like John T. Spencer was in his first year, I wanted some real assessments, or hard data. I wanted to know where every student was at. I did it with… wait for it… a multiple choice test. Yes, I used the dreaded, MCT (I don’t believe that’s a real acronym). I did it with a twist. The whole class took at the same time, using electronic voting, but then we talked after each question. In real time (and later in an Excel spread sheet) I could see who answered correctly, how long it took them, plus I could see as a whole class what was still stumping them.

 

I also made the test myself. It was only 8 questions, but I want them to be meaningful. Each question prompted a good discussion. A lot of the questions had more than one right answer, but I was looking for the best answer. Since this was still a formative assessment (the summative assessment will be a project), if I were to put it on a final test, the MCT would allow room to explain your answer.

 

The question that nearly everyone got wrong:

 

Slavery increased in America due to:

a. Demand for cheap labor

b. Introduction of guns as a trade good in West Africa

 

There were two other options, but I don’t remember what they were. Those two options caused all of the arguing. It’s where we spent most of our time arguing/discussing. Most thought slavery increased because guns allowed different tribes to capture more slaves, BUT only one student said that without demand from America, there would be no incentive to take slaves. Either way, this question could produce a hearty essay, even for someone in high school. I just thought it was amazing to see the detailed and inquisitive discussion from a single multiple choice question.

 

P.S. Why the raccoon? They’re my favorite animal. Plus, they’re really smart. They learn and apply new skills. They’re crafty. And they wash their hands. Who can hate on that?

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One thought on “i’ve got to admit it’s getting better

  1. amys50 says:

    I like how you were able to capture your multiple choice data while at the same time engage the class in a spirited discussion (also a useful form of gathering assessment data, though a little hard to track student by student). We have been learning how important it is to give students timely feedback — what better way than an on-the-spot discussion! I have only seen Activotes used in my classroom one time, but I want to learn how to use them more often. My teacher also uses the graphs and charts that the system produces instantaneously to reinforce the skill of reading and interpreting data presented in these ways. Another added benefit is that most students are more highly motivated when given a chance to interact with technology rather than pencil and paper.

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