Clicker Assessment Research

Office of Academic Planning and Assessment, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Faculty Focus on Assessment, v.3(2) (Spring 2003).

GE Kennedy, QI Cutts, “The Association Between Students' Use of an Electronic Voting System and their Learning Outcomes," Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 21 (2005): 4, 260-268.

Steven R. Hall, Ian Waitz, Doris R. Brodeur, Diane H. Soderholm, Reem Nasr, “Adoption of Active Learning in a Lecture-based Engineering class" IEEE Conference, (Boston, MA, 2005).

SW Draper and MI Brown, “Increasing Interactivity in Lectures Using an Electronic Voting System," Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20 (2004): 81-94.

Ernst Wit, “Who Wants to be… The Use of a Personal Response System in Statistics Teaching" MSOR Connections 3(2) (2003).

Clickers (aka Personal Response Systems)

An audience response system is available for long or short-term course use. The system consists of small hand-held radio frequency transmitters used by the students, and a computer equipped with a receiver and software that aggregates student responses and graphically displays the results. Using Turningpoint (, an application that works with Powerpoint, the instructor poses multiple choice questions to the students, who in turn have a set amount of time to submit their answer using small hand-held transmitters (aka "clickers").

How It Works

A receiver on the instructor's computer compiles the responses and allows the instructor to show a graph of responses back to the students when the polling period is over. Another applications can be used to analyze the responses in more detail after class is over, providing the instructor with statistics on both individual student answers and in the aggregate, as well as on attendance.

Pedagogical Methods

Meaningful use of the technology requires some modification of the standard lecture format to include time for questions and discussion of answers--a number of methods have been developed. In one instance, after the students submit their initial choices, the instructor provides more information about each of the possible answers. The students are then given another few minutes to discuss the question with their neighbors in an attempt to sway them to their own choice. In this way, students not only internally consider the question, but actively debate it. After the short discussion period, students vote again. Finally, the instructor reveals the correct answer, reasoning aloud why it is correct and the other options are not. Overall, experience has shown that consistent in-class use by students is best encouraged by assigning participation a small percentage of the overall course grade.

The immediate benefits to this pedagogical method include:

If You Want to Use Clickers

If you want to use clickers in your course on a regular basis during the semester (for example to take attendance or give quizzes), your students must purchase a clicker through the ITS Computer Store (clickers can be sold back to the store at the end of the semester, just like a textbook).  We also have sets of clickers that can be handed out in class for ad hoc use (specifically where you do not need to track responses by student).

Contact your Academic Computing Manager for a demonstration, to sign up to use for a course, and for information on best practices.






Rev. 09/13/2007 10:54 AM