Classroom Voting Patterns in Differential Calculus

Every so often, I’ll publicize through this blog an interesting article that I’ve found in the mathematics or mathematics education literature that can be freely distributed to the general public. Today, I’d like to highlight Kelly Cline , Holly Zullo & Lahna VonEpps (2012) Classroom Voting Patterns in Differential Calculus, PRIMUS: Problems,Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies, 22:1, 43-59, DOI: 10.1080/10511970.2010.491521

Here’s the abstract:

We study how different sections voted on the same set of classroom voting questions in differential calculus, finding that voting patterns can be used to identify some of the questions that have the most pedagogic value. We use statistics to identify three types of especially useful questions: 1. To identify good discussion questions, we look for those that produce the greatest diversity of responses, indicating that several answers are regularly plausible to students. 2. We identify questions that consistently provoke a common misconception, causing a majority of students to vote for one particular incorrect answer. When this is revealed to the students, they are usually quite surprised that the majority is wrong, and they are very curious to learn what they missed, resulting in a powerfully teachable moment. 3. By looking for questions where the percentage of correct votes varies the most between classes, we can find checkpoint questions that provide effective formative assessment as to whether a class has mastered a particular concept.

The full article can be found here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.