The effects of using Kahoot! as a formative assessment in the middle school science classroom

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Formative assessment is classroom assessment that occurs before the summative assessment and is used by students to determine their progress towards the learning target, and by the teacher to inform instruction. Black and Wiliam's paper, 'Inside the Black Box', provides compelling evidence that formative assessment, properly implemented, is a powerful tool to improve student learning. Research also shows that high-quality formative assessment in the classroom is rare. In search of such assessments this study focused on the impact of using the digital-learning game Kahoot!, in middle-school science classes. According to Kahoots! CEO, more than 50% of all US k-12 students use Kahoot! monthly, and it is growing at a rate of 75% a year, with over 1.6 billion users overall (, 2018). By comparing 120 students' engagement with three different modes of Kahoot! -- team, competitive, and no-score -- to traditional classroom discussion, this study measured the impact of Kahoot! as a formative assessment in a middle school science classroom. Student performance was measured with unit tests, and student engagement and preference were measured with Likert surveys, classroom observations, and student interviews. The results were analyzed to determine the impact of Kahoot! on students of different genders and academic abilities. The results indicate that Kahoot! did not have a significant impact on students' performance as a whole, but public competition did have a statistically significant impact on their preference for the different modes of Kahoot!. After six months, most students remained engaged by Kahoot! and they felt it helped them learn.




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