April 2024
ISSN 2148-7278
Volume: 10 Issue: 1

GLOKALde , ISSN 2148-7278 , Article 2

THE CONFUSION BUTTON: A Formative Assessment to Identify Real-Time Student Misconceptions

University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA USA

Jace HARGIS, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA USA


In a perfect world, instructors would be able to share information in class and at the same time, be assured that students understood the concepts as they were being taught. Historically, instructors have attempted to determine student understanding by simply asking if there are any questions about the material (of which, there are typically none), or employing various low or high tech student response systems, which provide a sense of which students can answer a provided prompt.

This study explores a new approach to gathering real time student understanding of material being presented. A program has been created and currently being piloted, which allows students to indicate their “confusion” on a topic, as it is being taught by pressing the volume button on their mobile phone/device.

The only requirement is that the device/hardware owned by the students could connect to the internet. On a very high level, Student signals produce an anonymous aggregate signal to the instructor desktop computer, which graphs time vs. number and level of student confusion.

In this way, instructors can stop discussing and address the confusion and/or proceed and after the class session view and address the problem, knowing precisely on what concept the confusion occurred. This paper presents early development, faculty and student attitudes and processes for implementation

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