After collaboratively developing a selection of hinge questions relating to the OCR A Geography GCSE unit on mountains as an extreme environment, I was able to make use of the Quick Key app in class this week. This post aims to evaluate my first test of the Quick Key app and the extent to which it can be employed in conjunction with hinge questions as an assessment tool to diagnose misconceptions and improve instruction in the (geography) classroom.
The lesson context
The Y10 class have just completed a sequence of lessons on mountains as an extreme environment. The department collaboratively created a suite of hinge questions based on some of the learning which had taken place across the unit, making use of Rob Chambers Quick Key template, hosted on the Internet Geography website
In the previous lesson, students had been asked to prepare for a quiz on mountain environments and were asked to review the content contained within their exercise books and our extreme environment revision guide. When the test was issued to students they were informed that that the intention was that this quiz would act as a quick check on what they did/didn’t know following the completion of their investigation into mountain environments.
My intention was that in this lesson we would,
(1) Complete the Mountains Quick Key quiz and scan the results
(2) Display the correct answers and ask students to identify the questions that that they failed to get correct
(3) Ask students to identify two areas of the mountains course content they need to improve and spend 10 minutes revising these aspects of the course.
(4) Complete the mountains section from the 2012 Extreme Environments exam paper
(5) Survey the students on their feelings towards the usefulness of a hinge question quiz
Initially, deploying a Quick Key quiz brought several logistical issues that are worth sharing. I had originally attempted to keep the quiz ticket and the questions on one page. On reflection, I attempted to cram too many questions onto one page and as a result, the bottom of the ticket had been removed from the document when printing. This led to scanning difficulties, in the future I’ll need to ensure that all the ticket is visible when printing.
As this was the students first time entering their ID onto the ticket, it was helpful to model exactly how this is ID number is to be written on the interactive whiteboard. I have found that on first using Quick Key tickets, several students and indeed staff, have become a little confused about how this should be carried out!
I also found that it is perhaps best to ask students to complete the test in pencil so that any errors can be easily rectified with an eraser and avoid any scanning issues.
Reflections on the Quick Key results
The potential of Quick Key for generating data that informs instruction becomes apparent when the results of the tests are analysed. Firstly, Quick Key will quickly allow you to see how students performed in the test.
These results can also be sorted by score. In this case, the students performing well and not so well did not provide me with any novel data.
However, I found the most valuable data is generated when Quick Key allows you to sort the questions by score.
Generally speaking, studnets found this quiz challenging. However, Quick Key instantly revealed that in particular Q9 and, to a lesser degree Q1 were questions that students struggled to respond to correctly. Interestingly, both these questions involved geographical content relating to plate boundaries and mountain environments.
Q1 assessed students understanding of the relationship between specific types of plate boundary and the formation of fold mountains, while Q9 related to the types of plate boundary which have the potential for the generation of geothermal energy.
It was exceptionally clear from the results that the relationship between plate boundaries and fold mountains is an area of the course that I needed to revisit with students! Particularity in relation to the possibility of geothermal energy production and plate boundaries. The deployment of a hinge question quiz coupled with the speed at which Quick Key can analyse the results, provided me with very useful formative data. The hinge question quiz had diagnosed learning misconceptions and Quick Key allowed me to gather data and make a well informed and immediate adjustment to my instruction that very lesson. The geek in me found this very cool!
In the next post I’ll outline some of the student’s opinions relating to hinge questions.