Crick Software blog

Joanne Gibbins

Low-stakes testing with Clicker

11th November 2020

There’s been lots of talk recently about ‘low-stakes testing’. It’s certainly not a new concept, but it’s enjoying a recent resurgence in the wake of COVID-19 school closures and children’s lost learning and educational gaps. Essentially, it’s the use of informal, fun, fast practice tests and ‘low-threat’ knowledge checks like multiple-choice quizzes, cloze activities, or even small group discussions – without the pressure of exams and formal assessment (and marking!).

This kind of regular retrieval exercise is actually a great learning (as well as assessment) tool. It provides valuable extra practice, helping children to reinforce memory and ascertain what they do (and don’t) know. It’s also great for pupils’ self-esteem and confidence – in this non-threatening situation, they get the chance to demonstrate and celebrate their learning and knowledge. And this, in turn, has a positive impact on struggling pupils who may be consolidating gaps in their own knowledge by learning from their peers.

With this in mind, here’s some examples of how you might use Clicker to help.

Use Clicker Board at the start or end of a lesson and/or topic to create a mind map to summarise knowledge and understanding – a great visual tool which can help with memory retention. We’ve been looking at medieval castles – what can we remember about their features?

Compare Castles Board

Use Talk Sets in Clicker for children to orally demonstrate their knowledge. Research your topic for 10 minutes, then record an information podcast about 10 key points. Many of our Reading Books are linked to complementary Talk Sets so this is often an activity on LearningGrids ready to go!

Clouds - Talk and Book

Clicker Cloze enables you to create ‘fill the blank’ activities for checking knowledge and understanding. You can take text from anywhere on any topic – I’ve taken some from one of our Find Out and Write About sets on Ancient Egyptians. Simply paste your text into the Cloze Document and remove your chosen keywords in seconds! You can even find out at a glance how pupils have done by viewing the ‘Analytics’ tab. For more on this, see Gemma’s fantastic tutorial video on making Cloze activities with Clicker.

Egyptians - FOWA and Cloze

You’ll find hundreds of these types of activities on LearningGrids (or of course, you can create your own) to help add to your low-stakes testing library and get your pupils closing those gaps and showing off their learning!

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