Why I am loving Quizizz and quitting Kahoot as an assessment tool

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I started using Kahoot a couple of years ago and I found that, at the beginning, it created an exciting level of engagement in my students as they found challenging to compete against each other to be the quickest student to respond a teacher-created question.

Very soon I learned that the games had to be necessarily short (no more than 4 / 5 questions). Long Kahoot games generate a certain level of anxiety and, what is worse, the general feeling that nobody is going to be able to beat the two or three people who are on top all the time.

Last but not least, students are competing and achieving results based on their ability to respond quickly to a stimulus. And quick responses are not necessarily the best ones under certain conditions and, for obvious reasons, when you want to work on critical thinking and high cognitive level concepts.

As a summary, I do not think Kahoot is a valid assessment tool for most of the contents I teach.

It does not mean I am not using it anymore. Sometimes, it is just a warm-up that you use to engage students while delivering a quick review of a well-mastered content so you can then continue working on new stuff using the devices. And of course, it is a very valid tool for STUDENT-created assessments… But that is a different story.

And then I found out about Quizizz in a training delivered by Vanessa Jones (thank you, Vanessa, for leading the way!) And, right now, it is a love-at-first-sight story, hopefully long-lasting…

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With Quizizz:

  • you can skip the time rewards. Students then have plenty of time to think and elaborate a balanced response;
  • you can create almost any type of multiple-choice assessment, keep track of answers and download detailed reports of results with all the necessary information;
  • students can go through their responses and check and verify their wrong answers at the end of the test, and the teacher can pinpoint the questions that obtained higher percentages of wrong answers to address weaknesses affecting the majority of the group;
  • the teacher can obtain valuable information about students performance and errors due to lack of mastery of the skills, not because students were not able to deliver the “quickest possible answer”.

How I am using this tool in my classroom:

  1. I create my own quizzes and use other teachers questions and quizzes after editing them. I am currently using quizizz for different areas and contents such as:
    1. Spelling
    2. Vocabulary
    3. Reading Comprehension
    4. Math basic skills
    5. Math word problems
    6. Other content areas
  2. I have learned that, as always, setting clear expectations is fundamental. Every time we use Quizizz I clearly state that we use Quizizz to learn together and that quickly delivered responses are not welcome. Nobody wins for responding quickly. You will be able to be on top if you respond 100% correctly.
  3. Students are praised when they try hard and elaborate their answers even if they did not answer correctly. Showing their work, even on paper and pencil, is an extra.
  4. All questions have been setup to have enough time to be responded correctly. Certain questions might have a shorter time to respond, only when they are supposed to relate to contents already mastered by all the students in the group.
  5. Students are encouraged to verify their responses, even if they got them all right, and write any ideas or strategies they may use in the future with similar questions.
  6. If the first attempt was not completely satisfactory for a majority of students, we retake the test in a whole-group environment to create successful experiences and terminate the activity with a sense of self-awareness and accountability, feeling that we can master any test or content if we work hard enough and make the effort to find the right answers. If only a few students could not master the content, then I set a “homework” code that they can use to review and retake the quiz on their own or with the teacher in small groups.

As a teacher, I find that Kahoot is fun and creates a (perhaps false) sense of being able to guide students’ performance. As an educator, I believe that Quizizz creates a positive learning environment giving immediate feedback and allowing students to learn from their mistakes. Students learn that they are accountable for their results. Success does not depend on the teacher, but on themselves. We are not competing against each other, but mainly against ourselves. Mistakes do not necessarily mean failure, but an opportunity to keep on learning.

And self-esteem and personal accountability are powerful tools that you need to master to be able to grow and learn.

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