Exploring Mastery Learning with Quizlet Live

We are working through an Energy PBL Unit in my AP Environmental Science class. I am mixing in a variety of formative assessment tools to help my students and myself evaluate our learning. Some of these formative assessments are graded for points, but I try to find ways to maximize the points earned for every student.

Today I tried something different with Quizlet Live. The students and I enjoyed the experience and I think we all learned something. Our goal was to make sure each group was able to master the key terms connected to Nuclear Energy. Here is a brief outline of the process we used today.

  1. Create a 12 question Quizlet. The Quizlet for this activity was primarily a vocabulary checkpoint.  I've also done Quizlet Live with definitions, quotes, and general concepts. If you are creative Quizlet can be more than a vocabulary tool. Quizlet has a great collection of searchable Public Quizlets that can definitely save teachers time
  2. Create a new Game and display the code for the class.
  3. Once all the students have joined it is time to create the groups. I prefer random groups, but you can also manually create the groups. The students get up, move around, and join their new groups. I do set one rule at this point, students cannot look at each other screens. They need to talk to each other and share what is on their screen. (If you've never done a Quizlet Live, it is important to know that each student has the same question at the same time, but they all have different answers. Only one member of the group has the correct answer for each question. If you've never used Quizlet Live you can learn more here.)
  4. Start the game. The first team to complete all 12 correctly wins the round. This is normally the end of the game. You can review missed terms with the class after the game is completed. You also have the option of playing again.
  5. So far nothing different than what my class has done multiple times with Quizlet. This is where I chose to do something different. The team that 'won' the first round was now done. They were free to get back to work on their PBL activities. The rest of the class would play again. We kept the same groups and the questions were the same.
  6. We did this for points, so the students were pretty competitive. The winners of the first round earned a 12 out 12 on the quiz. The second round winners earned a 11.5 out of 12. Third place earned a 11 . . . and so on. Get the picture? If this was true mastery learning, all students would eventually master the material and theoretically earn the same point total. (I should note that points in my classroom are a piece of data, but I am fairly flexible about what gets connected to the final report card grades.) 
  7. We repeated the process until we were down to two teams for one last round. The last place team earned a 9.5 out of 12. (We struggled a bit with this part. There was some evident stress on the last two groups to not finish last. The majority of the rest of the class was focused on their own work so I think we all survived. I will probably give both teams in the last round 10 / 12. I will also offer an alternative activity if anyone wants to earn any missed points back.)
  8. Learning was definitely evident. Each time we completed a round there were fewer wrong answers in the next round. The final two rounds were less about mistakes and more about which groups could collaborate to process and submit the answers the quickest.
  9. I realize that I don't know if all students master the vocabulary in these type of group assessments, but I think the students learn what they do and don't know. I do wish Quizlet Live provided me with a better view of this, but this is not a deal breaker. In my classroom it is more about the process for students than about the data.
  10. If I do this in the future with a larger Quizlet set, I might have each group need to win two before they moved out. 

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Teachers can explore Quizlet Live through a "Live Demo"

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If you try something like this, I'd love to learn how it went? Please share your experience in the comments below?

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