Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kahoot is a hoot, but is it a formative assessment?

Blogging Challenge Day 11
A website

Today I used a website I have never used before.   The website is set up like a quiz game in a restaurant.  There are multiple choice questions and a timer that counts down.  Players get points for correct answers, and there are slightly higher points for using less time.  

The teacher has a main game on his computer and it is projected onto the screen/smartboard.  The questions and four choices are displayed along with a timer that is counting down.  The timer can be set by the teacher for 30, 60, 90 sec or more per question . 

Students go to and sign in using a game pin # and a nickname.  The teacher thens starts the kahoot.  The students watch the smartboard for the first question.  Each student then answers the question on their iPad, phone, or any mobile device.  When all answers are registered the compter then displays the correct answer.  

The students are told various information on their device.
     1.  Correct or incorrect
     2. Points earned
     3. Place in the class
     4. how many points behind they are from the student in front of them

The teacher then clicks next and the computer displays the points of the top 5 in the class.  The cycle then repeats for the 2nd question.  

I like Kahoot for several reasons:
The format is very engaging and exciting to the students.  They were hooked today.  Very involved and asked if we could play more often.  

It is an engaging and non-threatening way to stimulate discussion among the students about the problems.  

The quizzes were very easy to create.  I just screen grabbed various inequality questions I already had and imported them into the kahoot quiz.  Very easy.  

It is free.  

The results are downloadable and can be saved.  

My first ever kahoot is here.  

I also have several concerns:
The timer makes some anxious, this is a problem especially for math.  I have never valued how quickly a student can accomplish a math task.  

I am not a big fan of multiple choice.  

With a timer and multiple choice format, it can push many struggling students to guess.  

The students can put in their own nicknames.  This allows them to put in pretty much whatever they want.  I asked them to use either their first or last name.  I got some "variations."  Nothing super inappropriate, but it was only the first time.  This could also throw off the validity of this as a formative assessment.  

The Big Question:  Is this a formative assessment?
From kahoot, I do get data and it does help drive my instruction.  The activities that we will do tomorrow are partly shaped by the questions the students struggled with today.  However, I am not sure how valid the data is or whether I should rely on it to shape instruction.  

As I use kahoot more often, we will see how the results align with learning.  


1 comment:

  1. Hey Chris,

    Just to introduce myself, I'm Jamie Brooker, Co-founder & Lead designer of Kahoot! Thanks for the great article, you raise some excellent points and valid concerns too.

    Our aim with Kahoot! is to help change the learning environment, to one which is highly engaged, more social and where discussion is stimulated. It's definitely intended to give a guide as to how much your students understand, but not necessarily a 100% formative assessment tool.

    You could, for example, use longer timed questions to decrease the anxiety to guess, and even introduce "No points questions" when you make the quiz, so that there is no score riding on getting it right.

    We would love to hear any suggestions or ideas you have here: for enhancements or how we could evolve the platform going forward.

    I'm not sure if you've considered it, but one other way to assess your student's understanding is to ask them to create their own quizzes, which they play back to their classmates. Here's a story from one of our users on how this has worked out for them:

    Many thanks!