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Evaluating the use of Hinge Questions and the Quick Key app.

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.

Quick Key Studnet

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

Practical issues

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.

Results by Name Edit

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.

Results by score edit

However, I found the most valuable data is generated when Quick Key allows you to sort the questions by score.

Results by question bottom

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.

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Introducing experiments with Hinge Questions and the Quick Key App

I had been wondering for a while… Is it possible to develop better systems of assessment, which offer more opportunities for teachers to make learning interventions and save teachers marking time?

Over the next few months I’ll be blogging about a project I have secured some funding for which I hope will help our geography department achieve that elusive goal! Better assessment items, less time marking, more time addressing misconceptions.

The project is really about synthesizing AfL techniques and technology. In simple terms the project has two main threads…

(1) Working collaboratively as a geography department to develop high quality assessment items primarily through the use of hinge questions.

(2) Making use of the Quick Key app to mark, store and analyze student responses.

To get the technology aspect up and running, I have managed to secure some funding for 7 iPads for my geography team through a DigiLit project fund. If you have not come across it before, the DigiLit project aims to support teachers to make the best use of technology across Leicester schools and is headed up by the digital learning visionary Joise Fraser. I’m very grateful to her and her team for their support! You can download the bid I submitted here.

Incidentally, they have produced an excellent framework for digital literacy development for school staff. Well worth a look.

In the next post I’ll share some of our current thinking around hinge questions and their use in the geography classroom.

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