Sunday, December 21, 2014

Plickers Technology for Formative Assessment

I wrote this original post on back in November on a collaborative blog that I'm part of called The Primary Pack! If you haven't checked us out yet, you definitely should! We've got tons of great ideas for all primary teachers!
The Primary Pack
{Disclaimer: My Simply Creative in KY blog button has changed from when I originally wrote this post... sorry if it confuses you!}
One of my teammates shared with me the most AMAZING tool that I promise will change the way you give some of your formative assessments. I seriously am still on a high from using this tool. My kiddos LOVE using them, and I get so much great data INSTANTLY.

Okay, so what am I talking about here... PLICKERS!!!
I know, the name sounds ridiculous, and I have no idea where that name came from. After you finish reading this post, you need to go to the website and sign up. It's FREE!

Here are the basics: Each student has a Plicker card (it looks similar to a QR code), the teacher creates assessment questions on the website, displays them on the board, and uses the smartphone app to scan student responses.
This is my class set of Plicker cards. 
The question is displayed on the board, and students hold up their cards to show which answer they choose. I wrote in black marker the answer choices bigger so that my students didn't have to worry about reading the little writing on the cards.
This student turned his card to show that he selected answer B. 
Once every response has been scanned, you can analyze the results with your class. You can display the graph on the board while you are scanning cards so students can watch the graph grow.

Now, I know what you're thinking: I don't want to go around to every single student and scan their cards individually... that will take FOREVER. Don't worry. You don't have to! It takes about 30 seconds for me to scan every response from standing at the FRONT OF MY ROOM. Easy Peasy. No joke.
I start at one side of the front of my room and walk to other side, scanning all the cards in about 30 seconds or less! 
I can ALWAYS get at least 3 students at once... many times 5-6 students at once! 
Before showing the correct answer, we always talk about the question, what it's asking, and debate the different answer choices. Finally, you click "Show Correct" and the correct answer choice will pop up in green.

Seriously, does it get any better than that? Also, using the Plickers app on my iPhone, I can simply look at who missed the question and what answer they chose. On the left, you can see who got the questions wrong. When I'm ready for the next question, I click the back button and choose the next question on my smartphone.

Look at all that fabulous data! Percentages, names of students, dates given... it's all RIGHT THERE for you! I archive my questions so that I can go back to them as needed to review results.

So did I convince you yet? If you're ready to set up your class and start creating assessment questions, keep reading for a quick tutorial! First go to and sign up for an account. You'll also need to download the app on your smartphone so that you can scan student responses.

After you sign up, go to CLASSES, and click ADD A NEW CLASS.
Type in all of your students. In my classroom, every student has a number that they are assigned for everything (cubbies, magnets, behavior tickets, etc.), and it's always the same. This number will be printed on the Plicker card, so you'll need to know which child you've assigned to which number.
Once I handed mine out, I had students put their name on the back so we could quickly identify whose card it belonged to.
Once you've created your class you can print your Plicker cards. You'll go to the option CARDS. There are different options for cards, but I use the standard set. Click the Standard Plickers Card Set option and it will download into a PDF for you to print.

After I printed my Plicker cards, I copied them on colored card stock and laminated them for durability. Now they're ready to go!

Now it's time to create your questions! In the turquoise box, start typing your question.
Here's the question I typed as an example for you. As you type in the answer choices, check the box to choose the correct answer. If you only want to have 3 answer choices, click the X next to the D and you can delete answer D as a choice. You can also switch to True/False at the top if you want that type of question. When you're finished with the question, click Save.
Once you've saved your question, you'll want to add it to your plan. Click +Add to Plan, then choose your class.

Now that you've created questions and downloaded the app, you're ready to use them with your students! Simply pull up the Plickers website on your Smartboard (or whatever display board you have) and click LIVE VIEW. Then, using your smartphone, choose the question you want students to answer and it will immediately change the screen that your class sees. Students hold up their cards while you scan responses, and that's it!

Getting everything set up to use took me about 30 minutes after school one day. Now that I have everything ready to go, I can create questions on the website in a matter of minutes. I'd love to hear from some of you who want to try it out! Let me know if there's any questions I can answer for you!

Happy teaching (and assessing)! 


  1. I found your post from a link on The Brown Bag Teacher's Facebook page- I LOVE your post! It was super helpful in getting me set up and starting this today. The kids loved it, I loved it, and my team is jealous and wants to jump on the bandwagon too! Thanks for all the tips and just for leading me towards this awesome resource!

  2. This post is great! I am setting up my class and getting ready to use plickers this week! What a fun way to get much needed data!

    Swinging for Success

  3. This is the best post of the New Year! I am so excited to try this in my class tomorrow. We have to do so many "short cycle assessments" that take up so much time and this would make it so much faster! I am curious to know if this is only for use with a smart phone or can you also use an iPad? Thank You again!

  4. Awesome! I've thought about getting this one, but recently went with QuickKey. It gives the students bubble sheets (which I figure helps them learn to fill in bubbles for our end of year standardized test) and you scan them with the app on your phone/ipad and it grades it for you.

  5. This is awesome! I had no idea this existed! Thanks for explaining it so thoroughly!

  6. Interested in starting this in my kindergarten class.