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A Quick and Easy Assessment Tool: Socrative

March 5, 2018

Assessment. What comes to mind when you heard that word? Dread? Fear? A vague sense of unease? We all know it’s important, and we all know it’s really hard to work into instruction, especially if it’s a one-shot session. For me, the dread I felt related to assessment was exactly that: the feeling that I needed to fit this really important and time consuming thing into the little time I had with each class. There is so much to cover, and taking time to do a pre-quiz and post-quiz, or any other in depth assessment, detracts from valuable time spent on information literacy concepts and skills. To alleviate this time crunch while still getting valuable feedback from students, I’ve started relying on quick and easy interactive tools like Socrative to gather assessment at the end of each one-shot instruction session. is a free (for non-premium access) classroom app that allows a user to create quizzes, exit tickets, and other interactive engagement techniques. Instructors have a teacher login to set up quizzes before class, then activate the quiz either before class or as needed during the class period. Students navigate to the Socrative student page, login with a room name, and answer a few questions to provide instant feedback to the instructor.

Because I try to spend as little of the class period as I can on assessment, I take the last two minutes of the class period to ask students to do one last thing before they head out. In my pre-class prep, I have already launched an assessment and activated a new room. At the end of the period, I ask students to enter the room name (I’ve found it easy to make the room the name of the class I’m working with, i.e. ENGL15), at which point the self-paced “quiz” begins.

I designed a basic quiz that works for the majority of my freshmen level classes. If I’m working with an upper level class, I create a quiz with more targeted questions. In the basic assessment, students first answer a Likert scale question about how well they understood the material presented. The next two responses are free type fields. They’re asked to give a response to one thing they learned during our session, and finally they wrap up with a short answer asking one thing they’d like to know more about. While I’d like to be more reflective on concepts covered during our instruction session, I’ve decided that for now, these quick and easy answers are useful for me to take into account for planning future classes.

One of the best parts about Socrative is how easy it is to get to the students’ feedback. After each student has answered their three questions, I end the room session and have the results emailed to me in an Excel spreadsheet. The feedback I’ve received from students has been helpful in learning what worked and what did not work, and is also interesting to look at with similar classes compared over the same semester. It helps me reflect on what I’m doing that goes over well, which is sometimes more related to my energy level on a particular day than how a concept was presented and reinforced.

Possibly because I don’t require them to use their names, the students are quite honest with me about their level of understanding. When I first started using Socrative, I thought I’d get a lot of nonsense responses, especially in the free type fields. I’m happy to say that rarely happens; most students are thoughtful while providing feedback. I’m also honest with them that their responses will help inform me what to talk about with classes like theirs in the future. This might be another reason that they are engaged and open with this quick assessment tool.

Of course, in an ideal world, we’d each be able to work with instructors to perform complete assessments before, during, and after library instruction. Reality doesn’t often allow that, though, which is why using an easy tool like Socrative is helpful in maintaining a grasp on assessment in library instruction.  


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