Report on Clickers in Chemistry 105, Fall 2005
Did students think that clickers
helped them learn?
A student survey was conducted in December by the Learning Technology
Center at UW Milwaukee.
The UW Oshkosh results (aggregated for five courses) can be downloaded
as a pdf file.
Students agreed that using the clickers was fun, made them feel
involved in the course, and was beneficial to their learning.
How much were clickers used?
Clickers were used in 28/42 lecture periods (2/3).
83 questions were asked of students.
The highest number of correct answers was 76.
Students could also earn 5 points by completing the online survey.
123 students (76% of class) reached the maximum of 40 points.
37 students did not reach the maximum; the highest attendance
registered for that group was 19/28.
1 student never registered a clicker.
Did clickers improve course attendance?
Attendance was not taken in lecture in previous semesters so the answer
Did clickers improve student learning?
If lecture attendance improved, students had a better chance of
learning useful things.
Several times, clicker questions identified points of confusion (many
students answered a question incorrectly).
As a result additional time was spent discussing that topic; one hopes
that would help.
Can we find an effect in the data that
1. Overall course grades were a little better in Fall 2005 than
in Fall 2004 (no clickers, different textbook).
They were also better than in Spring 2000 and Spring 2001 (no clickers,
Figure 1: Comparison of Grades in
Chemistry 105 for Fall 2004 and Fall 2005
2. Four items were checked for correlations with final course
grade (percentage of points earned).
Attendance at lecture (registered by
responding to a clicker) had some correlation with final grade.
Answering clicker questions correctly
correlated more strongly with final grade.
Data from Discussion were also compared to overall course grade.
Attendance at discussion had a better
correlation with final grade.
Quiz performance had the best correlation
with final grade.
3. Clickers might have affected exam scores.
Some exam questions were used in 2000 and 2005.
The 2005 students had a newer edition of book, and clickers. The
lecture was twice as large as in 2000.
There weren't many clicker questions before Exam 1; the students and
professor were learning the technology.
Exam 2 dealt with gas
laws and quantum mechanics.
On Exam 2, six out of twenty exam questions were related in some way to
None of the concepts or skills tested by those questions were practiced
The average on those questions went from 44% to 69%. Most of that
increase was due to one question that was particularly difficult for
the 2000 class (11% got it right): using the deBroglie relation.
That equation was used in a clicker question. 98% of the 2005
class got it!
For the other eleven exam questions that were used both years, the
average went from 65% correct to 66%.
It seems like clickers helped on exam 2.
Exam 3 dealt with the
shapes of molecules.
On Exam 3, sixteen out of twenty exam questions that were used both
years were related to clicker questions.
The average on the 16 questions went from 60% to 59%.
Thirteen of those questions involved concepts and skills that were
practiced in discussion.
For the three questions on concepts or skills practiced with clickers
but not in discussion, the scores went from 71% to 63%.
Three questions were not related to clicker questions. On those
the average went from 84% to 88%.
It doesn't seem like clickers helped on exam 3.
Does this mean that we don't gain anything from clickers?
Well, exam questions are usually more complicated than clicker
There is not enough time in lecture to practice everything with
clickers. Homework practice is still necessary.
Clicker questions are probably more helpful for some kinds of material;
if we can figure out which kinds, we can use them more effectively.
If clickers encourage students to come to class and pay attention, they
are likely to do better in the course.
to Chemistry 106 home page
Dr. Mihalick's home page
go to Department of Chemistry
last updated: January 27, 2006