IF-AT Scratch-off Assessment Forms

I first I heard about IF-AT ( Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique”) scratch-off tests from a relative in college. I thought it was an interesting concept so I ordered a batch and used them as part of my Spanish 2 semester exam. IF-AT’s are answer forms for multiple-choice tests. Students scratch off what they think is the best answer much like scratching off a lottery ticket. If the answer is correct, they see a star, providing immediate feedback and reinforcing the material. If there is no star, they know they’ve gotten then answer wrong and need to keep scratching.

 

After the exam I (and my students) would consider IF-AT a success but there are some issues to consider:

Pros:

  • Students get immediate feedback on their answers.
  • Correct answers are being reinforced, incorrect answers can be fixed immediately.
  • It’s difficult for a student to get completely off track for a large sections as sometimes happens on multiple choice tests.

Cons:

  • IF-ATs have all the shortcomings of any multiple choice tests.
  • Students had some initial anxiety and confusion over the new test format.
  • Students only get one chance at full credit for each question; they can’t go back and fix something. Several students came to me explaining they accidentally scratched off the wrong answer; there’s not much a teacher can do in that situation.
  • Since the answers are built-in to the answer form there’s nothing a teacher can do to fix a mistake on the test once it’s distributed. A teacher who’s not really careful will end up reinforcing incorrect answers. (I found out made two mistakes on my 50 question test.)
  • It’s messy.  Every desk had a bunch of silver gray dust on it my the end of the exam.
  • Test forms are only $0.05 each, but that adds up over time.  Also, the minimum order of 500 forms is pretty high.
  • In order to be really valuable you need to offer partial credit for multiple guesses.  That makes for a fairly easy test. It’s much more difficult for a student to fail (although maybe that should be in the “pro” section).
  • They’re not any faster to grade than other multiple choice tests, and may even take longer depending on how you handle partial credit.
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