Using a personal response system as an in-class assessment tool in the teaching of basic college chemistry

Tzy-Ling Chen, Yu-Li Lan


Since the introduction of personal response systems (PRS) (also referred to as "clickers") nearly a decade ago, their use has been extensively adopted on college campuses, and they are particularly popular with lecturers of large classes. Available evidence supports that PRS offers a promising avenue for future developments in pedagogy, although findings on the advantages of its effective use related to improving or enhancing student learning remain inconclusive. This study examines the degree to which students perceive that using PRS in class as an assessment tool effects their understanding of course content, engagement in classroom learning, and test preparation. Multiple, student-performance evaluation data was used to explore correlations between student perceptions of PRS and their actual learning outcomes. This paper presents the learning experiences of 151 undergraduate students taking basic chemistry classes and incorporating PRS as an in-class assessment tool at the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan. While the research revealed positive student perceived benefits and effectiveness of PRS use, it also indicated the need for further studies to discover what specific contribution PRS can make to certain learning outcomes of a large chemistry class in higher education.


Personal response system (PRS), Clickers, Student perception, Student performance, University chemistry course, Assessment tool

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