SILVERTHORN, D.U.; Univ. of Texas, Austin: Discovering What Students Know: High-Tech and Low-Tech Alternatives

Finding out what students are learning before they take an examination allows instructors to clarify points of confusion and address student misconceptions. In large lecture settings, however, this can be a challenging task. Dialogue between the instructor and students often is restricted to the front rows or the most vocal students in the room. T.A. Angelo and K.P. Cross developed a variety of classroom assessment techniques (CATs) that involve all students, but many of these techniques are pencil-and-paper and time-consuming to read for large classes. A high-tech alternative is the electronic response system, similar to that used to query the audience on a popular television game show. The instructor poses a multiple choice or true-false question and the students answer using individual remote control keypads. When voting ends, the composite results are displayed on a histogram, providing the students and instructor with immediate feedback. The system can be used for graded or ungraded classroom assessments, and the student responses are compiled in a database that can be transferred to a spreadsheet. This poster describes the student and faculty experience using an electronic response system in a large upper division physiology class. It also compares the high-tech method of gathering feedback to the previous low-tech method, 3x5 cards.