Each Monday my students do multiple choice practice. My non-AP classes work on SAT reading comprehension questions while my AP students focus on AP exam type questions. Tests vary in length each week from 10 questions to a full AP practice exam of 55 questions. Multiple-choice practice can often suck the life out of a class, yet practice is necessary in order to increase reading comprehension skills and prepare for the exam.
I have started using Socrative in all of my classes for several reasons. Students benefit from Socrative because it provides a game-based feel for an ordinarily mundane activity and gives immediate feedback on questions. Teachers benefit from Socrative because valuable class time is not wasted on questions the entire class answered correctly, and data can be saved from each practice test in order to tailor future lessons to class weaknesses.
Here’s how Socrative works
Teachers and students sign up for a free Socrative account. If this is your first time on Socrative, you will be guided through questions to set up an account. Once you are registered, your home page will look like this:
AP multiple choice questions or any multiple choice test can be set up in the following way:
- Choose Manage Quizzes to build a new quiz.
- At this stage, name your quiz (I use the first reading passage to name mine) and select multiple choice.
- To save time and be efficient (two of my favorite things), I simply number the questions (Question 1, Question 2, etc.) instead of typing the entire question and input letters for answers (A, B, C, etc.). This process allows me to copy the original quiz, add or delete questions depending on the passage, and change the correct answer as opposed to creating a whole new test when I make future tests.
- All of these steps should be done before class.
Once the quiz setup is complete, your students may start the quiz. You will have several options; I always choose immediate feedback in order to review answers on the spot.
While some teachers disable student names, my students prefer using alias names and have gotten very creative with their names. I typically pull up the quiz and start it as soon as my students begin the test. Since this only takes a couple of minutes, I have plenty of time to do this once the practice has begun but see what works best for your class here.
Students are given a hard copy of the passage(s) and questions and a Scantron if I am scoring the practice for a grade. Students mark answers on the hard copy of the test and turn in their Scantron. At this point, students input their answers on the Socrative app which immediately tells them if they got the answer correct. If a student doesn’t have a cell phone, he or she will use my iPad or another student’s phone. Sometimes we work in groups on multiple choice questions, so each group will turn in one answer. When all Scantrons are in, I project the results for the class to see.
My students love seeing how well they do compared with the class and how the class as a whole does. As a teacher, I can focus my time only on the questions that the majority of the class misses. I can also quickly note the types of questions that are most problematic. Seeing results also allows students to make observations on the exam instead of me drawing all of the conclusions with discussions often centering around distractors, patterns in missed questions, and patterns in correct questions.
When we are finished class discussion, I have several choices of how to save the data. I typically save as a whole class excel sheet. Now I have data to drive instruction which is valuable for my planning and something administrators love to see.
My classes love using this tool. When I started doing this, I was worried that lower achieving students would not want to participate, but the opposite has turned out to be true. Seeing high achieving students (and the teacher when I take tests with them) miss questions actually boosts the confidence of students to not be afraid of trying, and students are able to look to and learn from each other without me having to do all of the partnering and pairing.
Of course, this is only one way to use Socrative. Exit tickets, outer circle commenting on inner circle discussion, or quick class polls are other ways we frequently use Socrative in our class. As always when introducing new technology, start slowly and when all else fails, ask students to help if you can’t figure something out.