Using Plickers in Formative Assessment to Augment Student Learning

Using Plickers in Formative Assessment to Augment Student Learning

Zuhrieh A. Shana (Al Ain University of Science and Technology, UAE) and Sara Abd Al Baki (ABC Private School, UAE)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IJMBL.2020040104

Abstract

The aim of this quasi-experimental research is to investigate the effectiveness of formative assessment on the progress of private elementary school students. 77 students (33 girls and 44 boys) were split into two groups. The experimental group used an app called the Plickers app daily and was further divided by gender into two groups, while the control group used a revision sheet as a formative assessment. Student progress was assessed by comparing the mean scores of a pre-test to those of a post-test taken after one week of using the formative assessment tools. The results indicate that both formative assessment tools help improve student progress. However, the Plickers App had a greater positive impact than the revision sheet. Further, greater improvement was displayed by girls compared to boys. The researchers concluded that continuous usage of Plickers in classes can help promote positive students' perception, improve performance, and reduce gaps between high and low achievers.
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Introduction And Rationale

Although technology is not the panacea to 21st-century education issues, it is still by far the most common topic concerning the process of teaching and learning in the current era's education. Integrating technology into the learning setting is “the road to motivate and encourage students to learn…paved with their passion for technology and digital tools” (Elmahdi, Hattami, & Fawzi, 2018). Accordingly, a wide array of research has developed to explore the role of technology in the teaching/learning process and verify its effect on the classroom environment. Existing researchers also emphasized the potential of technology to increase motivation, improve teaching/learning and assessment processes, and to positively impact the students' performance and achievement of knowledge and skills (Chou, 2017; Irving, 2016; Damick, 2015).

One of the most exciting applications of technology in the enhancement of student learning is the use of modern online classroom response systems for formative assessment (Elmahdi, Hattami, and Fawzi, 2018). In their research on formative assessment, the team of Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central's Formative Assessment Research Alliance in the United States, including principals and administrators, showed that teachers in the region vary widely in their understanding of formative assessment and how to use it in class. (Klute et al., 2017). Formative assessment is “a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of a student's status is used by the teacher to adjust their ongoing instructional procedure or by students to adjust their current learning tactics” (Popham, 2011, p. 270). Technology tools were predicted and proved to “help teachers quickly collect and make sense of the formative assessment data, which leads to more purposeful planning in instruction” (Robinson, 2018). Ramsey and Duffy (2016) confirmed that the most essential area in a classroom environment is a formative assessment. It “provides teachers and students with continuous, real-time information that informs and supports instruction.” Evidence from research suggests that a huge number of research studies emphasize the effect of teaching and learning strategies in general and on classroom formative assessment in particular (Irving, 2016; Beatty & Gerace, 2009; Damick, 2015; Schell, Lukoff, & Mazur, 2013; Preszler et al., 2007; Caldwell, 2007; Ravitz, 2002).

The difficulties that teachers might face with finding time to apply strategies of formative assessment in classrooms is another area of focus for other studies such as Wei (2010). To solve this problem, to detect how teachers can face the most common challenges with formative assessments, students should be engaged and active in the process of teaching (Black & Wiliam, 1998). James Denby (March 2017) stated that formative assessment is an important topic of discussion in the faculty meetings and professional development sessions for teachers.

In addition, Duckor and Holmberg (2017) stated that “Powerful, tangible results come from teachers who are assessing and reassessing student learning—minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day” (p. xix). For an effective assessment, he suggested creating more nurturing and supportive environments that meets students’ need. According to Duckor and Holmberg (2017), nurturing environment can be created through information that sets the stage for the lesson’s content and prompts students to share prior knowledge. He emphasized the importance of students’ background knowledge, often called prior knowledge, to which a teacher needs to connect new information.

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