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:
- 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.
- 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.