Word problems

I have recently started playing with Google Forms and am currently investigating how useful this software may be in a classroom environment. It’s a very powerful method of questioning many people and collating their results. This is great for me, the teacher, a data junkie, but I’m not convinced that there is much benefit to be had for the individual filling in the form, i.e. the student.

Earlier this week, I created a small form (see here) which collates opinions on the forthcoming strike; this worked well. I have now created a second form which could (theoretically, at least) be used in the classroom. I have embedded the questions here, and subsequently comment on the form below.

Here is the most recent score (a manual refresh may be required):

The form can be seen externally here (so students wouldn’t have to access this page) and the analysis (including people’s results) can be viewed here (the intention is not for students to access the analysis).

The questions are on the topic of ratio and proportion, with a focus only on word problems. Despite being maths questions, they have to be read very carefully in order to be understood fully. This is a difficulty with many maths questions and is where many students struggle in an exam (although not necessarily in ‘real life’). Some questions are direct proportion, some are inverse proportion, others are a mixture of the two, while there are also some trick questions.

As well as the ‘front end’, I have also done some work with the ‘back end’ of the form – the spreadsheet part of the document. This analyses overall performance as well as performance of the different types of question. Furthermore, I have generated a formula that attempts to assign a percentage to the level of concentration the student has maintained throughout the task. It does this by computing how many consecutive wrong and right answers there are – therefore assuming that a student who has become bored and skips to the end is likely to have a long string of zeros [I doubt that this is (a) necessary, or (b) accurate, but I was also interested to know what formulas could be achieved through Google Spreadsheets].

I like:

The ‘drop-down’ list on page 1 so students can select their class – which could subsequently be filtered in the analysis.
The navigation feature after each question (although I think it could be improved*).
The box that displays the most recent result on this page (which could be adapted as necessary).
The fact that students rate their own performance at the end, and could add any comments if they choose.
I have tried to get the balance right between compulsory questions and those that are non-compulsory.

I’m not sure that I like:

In this instance, I am not sure that multiple pages are appropriate; they prevent students from copying each other, but the process may be more user friendly if they were on the same page.
Twenty questions are probably too many for this task.
The questions themselves could be better. These particular questions allow for single number answers, and easy marking, but I’m not sure this would be the case for algebraic answers or sentences.
In its current format, I think this may be best suited to assessments and maybe some homeworks, but I hope to be proved wrong.

I don’t like:

I wanted to be able to provide students with a mark instantly, but I think this is only possible by giving them access to the spreadsheet. I think it is possible to set up an automated reply (to an email address), but I do not like this idea.

*a (possibly hidden?) contents page might help, but I still think there is a better solution

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Author: ttsjl

I'm short and need to put on some weight

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