Creating Digital Quizzes.
For decades upon decades, quizzes have been utilized in educational settings to assess student learning and mastery. In this respect, being able to create quizzes is nothing new for teachers, in fact, it is basically an expectation that all teachers should master. What is new is how technology has revolutionized the use of quizzes in the classroom.
Previously (and to a lesser degree today) quizzes were administered to students to complete paper/pencil, often with additional class time devoted to the grading or scoring of the quiz. I vividly remember taking a quiz in class, finding a classmate to switch quizzes with, and the teacher going over the correct answers as we mark the ones our classmate answered incorrectly. Although this exercise may have been helpful as a review activity for the students to ask questions about the content material they got wrong, this exercise was inefficient in many ways when it comes to maximizing class time for learning.
Another quiz taking method involved students turning in completed quizzes to the teacher who would later return them to the class with scores circled at the top. I can only imagine the incredible amount of time it took outside of class for my teacher to grade 20+ students’ quizzes, decipher our responses amidst misspellings of words and poor handwriting (thankfully for you, these articles aren’t hand-written), and enter the scores into the grade book. But that’s not all – after all that is said and done, teachers still had to plan the lesson for the next day. Think of all this time that could have been used for students to explore new material or for the teacher to plan more effective and engaging lessons.
Enter – the Internet. The Internet, at its very core, was developed to process millions upon millions of pieces of information at ultra-high speeds and to share this information nearly instantly. In essence, the Internet sounds like an extremely large-scale digital grade book where information is taken in, analyzed and provided back to each user. As the Internet has evolved, more and more things that were traditionally administered via paper and pencil have been adapted for digital completion. This digital proliferation has spanned across sectors and has shown increasing promise in the world of education. One such advent in the educational realm has been the development of digital quizzes. Although the intention behind quizzes (assessment of student learning) has not changed, their versatility and quick reporting of results provide teachers with the feedback they need nearly instantaneously – drastically increasing the amount of time they are able to devote to teaching and individualized support for students.
I reached out to educators in South East Education Cooperative member districts to learn more about who is using digital quizzes and what their experiences and insights were. Jessica Smith, a social studies teacher at Ben Franklin Middle School in Fargo, stated, “With each student having a computer, it became easier and quicker to use digital quizzes. I can set it so they see their score and their mistakes immediately.” Additionally, Jerry Schneider, Instructional Technology Coach at Fargo North High School and Ben Franklin Middle School in Fargo, indicated, “The assessments can be at the end of the class period (takeaways, clarifications, & ‘a-ha’ moments) or at the beginning of the next class period. The goal is to find out what the kids learned/retained from the lesson(s) and fill in the gaps before moving onto new content.”
I was also able to connect Prairie Public’s Teacher Ambassador (and former English and Theater teacher at West Fargo High School), Darcy Bakkegard who shared her personal use of digital quizzes as a means for formative assessment and differentiation to promote student engagement as well as grading assessments. “Quick digital quizzes take the time out of grading while allowing you to quickly assess student skills and put students into collaborative groups based on their current knowledge,” said Bakkegard. She has used digital quizzes as exit tickets, and as ways for students to provide feedback on peer speeches.
“I made a ‘quiz’ in Socrative that highlighted key learning concepts in the writing process: citing sources, clear facts and explanations, thesis, and so on. Students in the audience then answered the quiz questions during each speech. Instead of each student presenting 5-10 minute speech and zoning out during their classmates’ speeches, these quizzes encouraged students to engage in each of their classmate’s speech.”
What options are out there?
A number of different options for creating digital quizzes exist, but teacher usage varies. Schneider said many Fargo North teachers use Google Classroom as their learning management system and the seamless integration with Google Forms and its new grading feature has made grading assessments that much quicker.
Outside of Google Forms, Schneider identified web tools such as Quizlet, GoFormative, Kahoot, Quizizz, Socrative, thatquiz.org, and Poll Everywhere. Although these web tools are not created by Google, he did note that many of these tools allow a Google single sign-on feature making it quick and easy for students to create accounts using their school Google account. He also cautions that one discipline where Google Forms are tough to work with is math. He suggests that there are tools (EquatIO & GoFormative) that are trying to develop ways for students to show their work, but these are still a work in progress.
“I initially used Flubaroo, but have now switched to using Google’s quizzes. I also use other tools like Quizlet and Kahoot for formative assessments but don’t record their answers so it isn’t specific feedback on each student,” says Smith.
Bakkegard has used Socrative’s quiz feature as an opening activity and for exit tickets, Kahoot for checking students’ prior knowledge, and Schoology for grading student assessments. Additionally, she shared her use of EdPuzzle as a means for creating a flipped classroom by embedding quizzes into YouTube videos.
Is training needed to learn how to use these tools?
“In the schools where I work, we have done technology workshops during teacher prep periods once a month. I have provided training on various web tools, Google apps, and Microsoft products. For those that need further assistance, I have done one-on-one shoulder partner time where a teacher and I work ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ on a web tool and how to incorporate it into their classroom. When first using the web tool, I will co-teach the lesson with the teacher, but after a few times of presenting, the teacher feels comfortable enough to teach the class on their own,” said Schneider.
Jessica Smith shared a different perspective. She explained that she is a “self-taught tech user” and she is “not afraid to experiment and figure things out on my own.” Although, it may take some time to learn the ins and outs of these tools she explained that “other teachers are glad that I have done it so that I can help them with their initial use and answer questions.”
What changes have you seen?
“Students have gotten used to immediate feedback and have come to expect it. I love that I can whip up a formative assessment and not have to wait for the copy room to copy anything for me. I can adjust my instruction day-to-day if needed,” said Smith.
Jerry Schneider has also witnessed changes at the teacher level, citing that they are “more willing to try some different techniques.”
Bakkegard has witnessed changes at both the teacher AND student level. Using quizzes as an exit ticket activity allowed her to gauge how well students understood the material presented in the lesson.
“Based on the exit tickets, I could then adjust my teaching the following day to ensure all learners knew key concepts,” said Bakkegard.
With the use of Socrative’s quizzes during speech week, she witnessed the following drastic changes in student engagement:
“This transformed speech week! Speakers were less nervous because people weren’t staring at them; speakers received a wealth of feedback not just from me but from the whole class; it gave the audience a clear purpose during the presentations; and, best yet, I could easily see if there was a misunderstanding in a key concept.”
Do these tools have a cost?
Schneider reported that since Fargo is a GSuite for Education district, there is no cost for using Google Forms.
“For some other web tools, there are costs attached to the premium subscriptions which provide more features. Many web tools, however, do have free services which teachers do use.”
Where can I find examples of digital quizzes?
Many of the online web tools have communities/forums where subscribers can post discussions and share resources. One web tool I found which shares examples of common assessments is Socrative.com. Alternatively, you may check out any of the resources highlighted in this article using the links below.
Links to Digital Quiz resources in the article:
Google Forms: https://www.google.com/forms
Poll Everywhere: https://www.polleverywhere.com/
Other Useful Links
If you are interested in additional tools/resources that were not highlighted in this article, check out these useful links:
Share your story with us!
This article is part of a larger article series focused on Digital Skills for 21st Century teachers discovered through an Infographic from EducatorsTechnology.com. Below is the schedule of digital skills that will be addressed each month. If you, or someone you know, is effectively using technology to engage in any of these skills, we want to connect with you and share your story! Email me at Chris.Thompson@k12.nd.us with the subject line “Digital Skills” and I will reach out and discuss how we can incorporate your learnings, best practices, tips and/or tricks into a future article!
- December: Record and edit audio clips & Create interactive content
- January: Curate, organize, and share digital resources
- February: Create engaging presentations
- March: Create infographics and posters
- April: Create digital portfolios
- May: Create Professional Learning Networks, connect, discover new content, and grow professionally.