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Assessment Research on Clickers


Mayer, R.E., Stull, A., DeLeeuw, K., Almeroth, K., Bimber, B., Chun, D., et al. (2009). Clickers in college classrooms: Fostering learning with questioning methods in large lecture classes. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34, 51-57.
  • What can be done to promote student–instructor interaction in a large lecture class? One approach is to use a personal response system (or “clickers”) in which students press a button on a hand-held remote control device corresponding to their answer to a multiple choice question projected on a screen, then see the class distribution of answers on a screen, and discuss the thinking that leads to the correct answer. Students scored significantly higher on the course exams in a college-level educational psychology class when they used clickers to answer 2 to 4 questions per lecture (clicker group), as compared to an identical class with in-class questions presented without clickers (no-clicker group, d = 0.38) or with no in-class questions (control group, d = 0.40). The clicker treatment produced a gain of approximately 1/3 of a grade point over the no-clicker and control groups, which did not differ significantly from each other. Results are consistent with the generative theory of learning, which predicts students in the clicker group are more cognitively engaged during learning.
Cook, R., & Calkins, S. (2013). More than recall and opinion: Using "clickers" to promote complex thinking. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 24(2), 51-76.
  • The authors focused on how a personalized response system ("clickers") could be used to promote more complex thinking in two sections of an intermediate college-level Spanish class. Using Bloom's Revised Taxonomy (2001), they designed questions to go beyond Bloom's lower-order thinking levels (recalling, understanding, and applying) to the higher-order levels (analyzing, evaluating, and creating). During the study, the authors alternated between using clickers and not using clickers, comparing how students performed on various common assessments. They found that students performed slightly better on assessments related to content that had been taught using clickers. More significantly, students engaged more fully in class, talked through complex questions, and explored cultural issues more readily when prompted by clickers.

Lantz, M.E. (2010). The use of 'clickers' in the classroom: Teaching innovation or merely an amusing novelty? Computers in Human Behavior, 26(4), 556-561.

  • Clickers’ are individual response devices in which students each have a remote control that allows them to quickly and anonymously respond to questions presented in-class. Clickers are now being used in many classrooms as an active learning component of courses. Educators considering the use of clickers in their own classrooms may wonder whether the clickers are a worthwhile, pedagogical tool or merely an amusing novelty. As Li (2008) pointed out, research has examined clicker effects on interaction within the classroom, but little research has examined whether clicker use can affect the understanding of concepts. This article will discuss ways in which clickers may help students organize and understand material presented in the classroom. The paper is intended to help guide educators in potentially effective uses of clickers as well as to guide future research.

Bruff, D. (2009). Multiple choice questions you wouldn't put on a test: Promoting deep learning with clickers. Essays on Teaching Excellence, 21(3).

  • Classroom response systems (“clickers”) can turn multiple-choice questions — often seen to be as limited as assessment tools — into effective tools for   engaging students during class. When using this technology, an instructor first poses a multiple-choice question. Each student responds using a handheld  transmitter (or “clicker”).Software on the classroom computer displays the distribution of student responses. Although many multiple-choice questions found on exams work well as clicker questions, there are several kinds of multiple choice questions less appropriate for exams that function very well to promote learning, particularly deep learning, during class when used with clickers. PDF link here.