Most teachers are familiar with seeing common misconceptions cropping up in summative assessments. Identifying common difficulties and addressing them before it is too late is central to being an effective teacher (e.g. Hattie, 2015; Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006). Aggregating or summarising student responses to formative questions can be an effective way of identifying problem areas before the all important final exam or summative assessment (McDonald, Bird, Zouaq & Moskal, 2017).
First-year undergraduate health sciences class
To help them prepare for a summative mid-term test, health sciences students in a large first-year undergraduate class (~1500 students) were offered the opportunity to practice their understanding of cardiovascular anatomy and physiology concepts by answering a series of short, open-ended questions presented through a bespoke tutorial dialogue system.
The tutorial dialogue system was developed as part of a larger research project but any system that supports posing open-ended questions, such as quiz tools available in common LMS (e.g. Canvas, Blackboard) can also be used and imported directly to Quantext.
Key areas for concern are identified
Quantext explore tab
The research and detailed analysis of the students responses was reported in McDonald, Bird, Zouaq & Moskal (2017). At that time, Quantext did not exist however, key insights identified in the steady can be readily identifed now, using Quantext.
As just one example, the screenshot on the left illustrates that some students, in response to a question about the source of the pulse pressure wave, incorrectly attributed it to the closing of the aortic valve. This is a misconception, that could be readily addressed during lecture or tutorial time.
Once identified, key areas for concern can be addressed
As part of the Quantext Pilot study teachers, of large undergraduate chemistry, engineering, and anatomy and physiology classes, have explored their students responses to short answer questions using Quantext. This has allowed them to rapidly identify conceptions that, had they been aware of them during the course, they could have addressed.
During 2020, we plan to support a small number of teachers to use Quantext specifically to identify misconceptions from formative short-answers questions posed during term-time.
Hattie, J. (2015) The Applicability of Visible Learning to Higher Education. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. 1(1), pp. 79 –91. McDonald, J., Bird, R., Zouaq, A. & Moskal, A. (2017) Short answers to deep questions: supporting teachers in large-class settings. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 33, 306-319. doi: 10.1111/jcal.12178. Nicol, D. J., & Macfarlane‐Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.
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