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Multiple Choice Successes

Since writing my first blog in June 2017 about the frustrations of the initial set up and first few weeks of use, the only problem that has happened since was some pupils insisting that they hadn’t received the e-mail with the link on it. Only to find out they were checking their personal e-mail account and not their school e-mail.

The process, which is now seemingly fully set up, is easy to use and the feedback has been very useful. Despite being multiple-choice questions, they cover the key words and ideas really well. The pre and post data gives an impression of progress and the individual question results give an idea as to the parts of the topic still causing problems that should then be focused on in revision lessons.

The tests are normally completed on paper in lessons whilst the pupils sit in close proximity. This enables pupils to easily see what others are answering and be “swayed” to an answer (or just blatantly cheat). By completing the tests in a computer room, the pupils are not only given the questions in a random order but the answers are also jumbled each time. This randomisation means the pupils find it harder to influence each other’s results. The online aspect also makes them ideal for homework tasks.

The fact they are quick to set and automatically marked also makes them effective quick revision tools to highlight gaps when preparing for end of year exams. I have also used the tests in computer room lessons by setting them so “live” results appear on the main board and any questions causing issues can be focused on immediately.

When looking at the data it is very sobering to see pupils who would have looked to have made good progress based on just an end of topic test, have done just as well at the start of the topic. Also some pupils who have not necessarily shown up on end of topic test data strongly, have made excellent progress based on these multiple-choice tests and can be given rewards/praise accordingly.

The results spreadsheet is easily adaptable to be used in many ways. Even with minimal knowledge of Excel it allows many things to be done to interrogate the data in different ways.

The above image shows a fictional set of class results to show how the data is presented, with some explanation. It is also worth remembering that as it is completed through Microsoft office not only can the scores can be e-mailed back to the pupils quickly providing them with the answers they put as well as the correct answers, but individual score can also be looked at if there are concerns about a particular pupil.

I have provided my department with the links to use in their own way to get used to the process and am currently toying with ideas of how to implement these tests into the route through for next year. I think I would prefer individual teachers setting tests for their classes. Although I am also considering setting the tests as year groups so that the data can be investigated not only within a year group but also across year groups by comparing previous years with current data.

I am also looking at using the data to attempt to put some competitions in place for the highest combined scores across the year as well as a most improved award. The GCSE scheme also contains multiple choice tests that I am hoping, given time, will also be converted to online versions.

Shane Brooking

Deputy Science Leader (Key Stage 3) The Ramsey Academy

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