Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Plickers! Quick & Easy Formative Assessments

Guest Blog Post
by Amber Joplin, Westfield Village

Quick and easy formative assessment? Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. At #gafesummit Roseville in February I learned about an awesome FREE assessment tool called Plickers. What’s Plickers you ask? “Plickers is a powerfully simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.”

To start using Plickers only takes a few simple steps:
  1. Create a free account on Plickers.
  2. Download app to your phone (which is available for free for iOS and Android. Who doesn’t like free!?).
  3. Import your roster.
  4. Start creating questions.
After the above steps, print and pass out each Plickers card (examples at right) to the corresponding student. Each card has a uniquely shaped square that is labeled with A, B, C, or D along each edge of the square. To begin assessing, students read the question you created within the app or on the website (this can be done before or during a lesson) that is projected on the screen. You must select "live view" on the website so students can see the question. Students hold up their cards rotated so their desired answer is at the top of the card. You scan the cards with your phone, and the website updates instantaneously on whether each student has responded and their choice. Since each card is unique, you don’t have to worry about students looking at other students’ cards: a huge bonus for those students with wandering eyes.

This works for teachers with multiple classes and for those who have the same students all day; just label each import accordingly. Once you import your roster, students are assigned a Plickers card that is labeled with a number, and you give that card to that student. Plickers has the option of going up to 63 students. To keep the data you collect accurate, students should use the same card each time. Plickers just added a new feature where you can look at a scoresheet of the questions you asked within a certain date range and see the data broken down by students.

Another added bonus is all the questions you ask are archived; you can always go back and review them or reuse the question. Best of all, students enjoy how interactive it is and have fun. I use my cards currently for math and English but plan on incorporating it into all subject areas. I teach my students to put their card down as soon as they see their name checked, meaning I have scanned their answer. After all students have answered, you can reveal the answer and students receive instant feedback. I suggest printing the cards on cardstock and laminating the card so they are sturdy; don’t worry, the lamination doesn’t affect your phone's ability to scan the card.

Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Amber Joplin, 5th grade, Westfield Village

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