Texas school improves DCA science tests by 8-10% using Quizalize

Introduction

Three 6th grade science teachers from a school in the Round Rock Independent School District, Texas, have been using the free Quizalize and Zzish formative assessment tools in their school for the last six months to help prepare students for the District Common Assessments (DCA). The results are quite outstanding. Students this year score, on average, 8-10% more in their assessments compared to results last year.

The teachers attributed this improvement solely to the use of Quizalize and Zzish in class and for homework. There were several other perceived side benefits too. Aside from improved mastery of subjects, students seemed more willing to communicate with teachers and displayed more confidence when completing assessments; teachers were able to use the data to deploy more bespoke exercises to individual students depending on ability – thus saving hours of time on marking admin and lesson preparation each week. And, with greater student engagement and improved results achieved, the teachers in question said that they were really starting to enjoy teaching again.

Background

Science teacher, Carolina Carner, at Chisholm Trail Middle School started using the Quizalize app and Zzish teacher dashboards to engage her class and get instant insight into student learning gaps back in 2016. She tried and tested many apps over the years, but rapidly found Quizalize a powerful teaching and learning tool and then introduced the product to fellow science teachers Rebecca and Tammy. The teachers have now used Quizalize and Zzish to help prepare some 360 grade 6 children for the regular DCA tests throughout the year and were finding these two EdTech apps an indispensable aide for exam preparation and subject mastery.

The Power of the Zzish Teacher Dashboards

Quizalize, powered by Zzish teacher dashboards, is a formative assessment tool that transforms regular tests into fun classroom team games. It is a powerful analytical platform that aggregates performance data in real time and produces easy-to-interpret reports that diagnose those all-important learning gaps. Using this data, teachers are then able to differentiate their teaching and give personalised one-to-one or small group attention to the students who need the extra help.

Teachers can create their own formative assessments quickly and easily using the quiz creator in Quizalize, or they may search the Quizalize marketplace and use or edit one of the 40,000 quizzes created by other teachers within the community. In Chisholm Trail Middle School, Tammy, Carolina, and Rebecca have been creating their own science-based quizzes, which can be found in their public profiles within the Quizalize marketplace. Check Carolina’s quizzes here.

While students undertake these formative assessments via Quizalize, the Zzish teacher dashboards automatically organises the students into three groups based on their % test scores: those who have achieved mastery by scoring 80% or more; those who are ‘almost there’ scoring 50% or more; and those that ‘need help’. Teachers can instantly see this information whilst the students play via the ‘Who Needs Help?’ screen, enabling them to start giving personal attention to students who need greater support, instantly. Where a manual process for marking and analysing assessments might take the equivalent of at least 2 to 3 hours work, Quizalize – married with the Zzish teacher dashboards – enables teachers to do this in seconds.

The “Purpling-out” Methodology

The teachers in Round Rock have been using Quizalize and Zzish as a pre-assessment tool. They use the tools in the two days prior to the District Common Assessments to identify and address learning gaps and drive student mastery.

Carolina, one of the science teachers, has introduced a whole new level of mastery to Quizalize and requires students to “purple out” (purple is the colour used to indicate a correct answer in Zzish) making students repeat the pre-assessment in Quizalize until they score 100%. If, after a few attempts, students still do not “purple out”, Carolina will then look at the ‘Who Needs Help?’ screen to see the class level learning gaps and review the individual student reports. Students requiring the additional support would then gather in a group around her computer and go through the test, discussing key sticking points, in order to drive memorisation and rational thinking around tricky problems.

Carolina commented: “The Quizalize and Zzish apps allow me to differentiate abilities and set assignments against these. For example, I do the Quizalize quiz the day before the test so they have a full period to practice if they need to, but then the other students get to do the extension because they have mastered the content. It helps them to stay engaged while I get to work with students that are struggling with the content. I get quality time with my students that need me the most, and ultimately these children develop the confidence and aptitude to succeed. It’s for these very reasons that I am very thankful for applications like Quizalize. It has helped me to enjoy my job as a teacher all over again.”

The Power of Gamification

Gamification has one very clear benefit in engaging students in learning and helping students to enjoy school. However, Science teacher, Rebecca, noticed that the gamification aspects in Quizalize, particularly the HOOPS team basketball game view, have had a very positive impact in one specific way: students are much better at reading the questions properly.

This entails students undertaking a standard Quizalize assessment but, whenever a correct answer is given to a test question, an animated basketball player slam-dunks a ball through a hoop (incorrect answers are shown as a missed shot). For more intensive challengers and seasoned players, HOOPS ‘All-Star level’ can be unlocked. To qualify, classes must play at least 10 assessments or activities in class; once this limit has been reached, teachers and players are able to select a difficulty level.

HOOPS complements Zzish’s existing range of features that gamify formative assessments in class in order to stimulate motivation, drive engagement, optimise memorisation and develop mastery.

Rebecca comments: “Students are so excited about trying to score baskets, they are carefully reading, concentrating, and putting forth their best effort on the questions. As a result, students are better learning the material.” Crucially, with engagement achieved and memorisation improved through gamified learning, students are carrying what they have learned through into the standardised DCA tests. The key factor here is that students are learning in a way that is different from the static, pen and paper based methods of traditional learning. Edtech is complementing the standard teaching and learning practices and, in turn, students are responding to interactive exercises that are helping them master and memorise information

The Gift of Quality Time

The science teachers’ experience of Quizalize and Zzish at school highlights a few but very important points: technology can be used to not only address the disengagement problem and increase student mastery of subjects but to also alleviate the excessive admin and paperwork that is preventing teachers from actually enjoying their job and doing what they do best-teach.

“Edtech apps like Quizalize have brought new life back into my teaching career” concludes Carolina. “I used to spend hours assessing and trying to put children into groups. This is a labour-intensive process, which saw me investing lots of additional hours on weekends and weekday nights undertaking the analysis to identify learning gaps and prescribing exercises to drive mastery over weak areas. Time is precious to teachers, and this program, in particular, has saved me so much time.”

Ensuring That All Students Succeed

One really encouraging aspect of the results is that Quizalize and Zzish is having an impact on student achievement across the board. “Every single student that I have has benefitted from the Quizalize program. I give them that differentiation that they need,” says Carolina. However, what is perhaps most exciting is that many students who used to struggle are now starting to succeed and starting to enjoy school and learning too. As Tammy reports, “I have one student, who when he got back tests in the past, expected the absolute worst. And the past few tests have come back, and for the first time the student is making progress, and he’s excited to go home and tell his family about it”

At Zzish our goal is to democratise access to advanced learning technologies such as Quizalize and ensure that every child fulfills their learning potential. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are thrilled by the impact we are having already!

Transform your test scores … get started with Quizalize and Zzish for free now!

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