August 2023 – Volume 27, Number 2
|Type of Product||Educational Internet-based platform to engage and assess students in different disciplines including ESL/EFL.|
|Platform||iOS/Mac (Apple), Windows, Chrome-based operating systems, and Android.|
|Device/Hardware Requirement||It can be accessed from different devices, which include laptops, tablets, smartphones, and desktop computers.|
This media review specifically evaluates the effectiveness of the Socrative platform for English language teachers. Although Socrative’s usefulness may extend to educators across all disciplines. The focus of this review is specifically on its effectiveness for English language teachers, it also explores its relevance to language learning in general.
This review is structured in three sections. The first section presents a general description of Socrative, while the second section evaluates the platform using the established criteria. The last section provides English language teachers with general recommendations on incorporating Socrative into their formative assessment practices.
Socrative is an online platform that enables teachers to generate and administer quizzes to and quick evaluations of their students. The platform is designed to maintain students’ interest while offering teachers insight into their students’ performance. Teachers have the capability to create standard or individualized assessments that can be evaluated automatically, and they can also generate progress reports for each student. The Socrative platform targets teachers from all disciplines and students from kindergarten to higher education levels. It is a user-friendly tool that is available in 14 languages (Socrative, n.d.) and does not require any specific language level to use.
To use Socrative effectively, teachers need to have basic digital literacy skills, including creating and managing accounts and understanding file types, sizes, and basic computer terminology. Similarly, students need fundamental digital skills, such as navigating a web browser, typing, and clicking on links, to access and participate in online tests and quizzes provided by their teachers through the Socrative interface.
Sign-up as a teacher
To sign up as a teacher on Socrative, teachers need to go to the Socrative website and click the “Sign Up” option. Then, they need to pick the “Teacher” option, enter their email address, and generate a password. They will then be required to enter their name and select their school or institution. They will then be moved to the Socrative dashboard, where they can build quizzes and other tests for their students.
Socrative provides students with various convenient login ways depending on the classroom roster settings. Creating an account is not a requirement for students to communicate with their teachers through the platform. Students can access their class via many methods, including teacher invitation, sharing or embedding the classroom URL on third-party applications, or direct access via Socrative.com. Students can actively participate in quizzes and evaluations after successful login.
When teachers have finished the sign-up procedure, they will be taken to the platform’s home screen, as seen in Figure 1. Once arriving at this page, teachers can select one of six available activity types to use with their students. This includes Quizzes, Quick Question, Space Race, and Exit Ticket, which can be highly customizable. For instance, in the Quiz feature, instructors can build quizzes featuring a range of types of questions such as true/false, short-answer, and multiple-choice questions. Moreover, teachers can also enhance these questions with multimedia content such as embedded links and images, which need to be added separately as they are unavailable within the app.
Figure 1. Socrative’s home screen
A significant aspect of Socrative is the Space Races which is a game-like feature in which students are divided into teams and compete to answer questions correctly. It is designed to make the learning experience more interactive and engaging. It allows students to collaborate on teacher-created tests where the teacher can create a test with multiple-choice, true/false, or short-answer questions and then selects the Space Race option. Then, by using the room code provided by the teacher, students can join the game and as they answer questions correctly, their team’s rocket ship moves on the screen. The winning team is the group that correctly answers the most questions and reaches the finish line first. Teachers can allocate teams randomly or let students choose their own team. During the Space Race, the teacher can monitor each group’s progress through the Results tab and project it for the students to view. When the Space Race is completed, the instructor can collect reports on student performance.
Another key feature of Socrative is the Exit Tickets tool. Typically, an exit ticket consists of three questions: the first is to assess the level of comprehension of the material covered, the next one is about what was learned over class, and the last one asks students to respond to a specific question posed by the teacher, which can be presented in a variety of ways, such as being written on the board, projected onto a screen, or asked verbally. These brief evaluations can be a way to evaluate student comprehension and provide teachers with essential information about their students’ learning progress. The data can be viewed in real-time, enabling teachers to make instructional changes and provide targeted support as necessary.
Another feature of Socrative is the Quick Question option which enables teachers to ask their students a question without creating a complete quiz or activity. The question can be multiple-choice, true/false, or short-answer, and the teacher has the choice to verbally present or show questions on the board for their students, who can then respond to them using Socrative. This feature is helpful for rapidly assessing student comprehension, generating classroom discussions, and conducting quick polls.
The features of the Launch on Socrative platform are user-friendly and easy to integrate together to assess the students effectively and engage them during a lesson. For instance, Figure 2 shows the Quiz feature that teachers may use at the beginning of class to build a pre-assessment test to highlight the gaps in knowledge of the new topic, which require them to focus more on specific areas that need more attention. Further, as shown in Figure 3, teachers can use the Space Race feature to encourage active participation and provide real-time feedback during the class. This feature allows teachers to review the covered content and adjust the materials based on the students’ understanding level. By the end of the class, teachers can use the Exit Ticket feature to evaluate the students’ understanding and gain immediate feedback (Figure 4). This tool may enable teachers to have a quick evaluation or ask reflective questions before students leave the class. By reviewing students’ responses, teachers can address areas that need improvement or clarification and build on the students’ understanding of the content.
Figure 2. Quiz Feature
Figure 3. Space Race Feature
Figure 4. Exit Ticket Quiz
Figure 5 shows the Socrative Library which is a feature that enables instructors to create, manage, and reuse their own quizzes and assessments for future classes. With this function, teachers are able to create and modify assessments that meet their instructional goals. It is essential to note, however, that the free version of Socrative only permits five quizzes to be stored in the library. The Shared Library feature of Socrative allows teachers to share, modify and collaborate on shared quizzes. This feature enables co-teachers, colleagues teaching the same subject, and mentors to access, co-create, and distribute learning resources through the Socrative platform. In order to get access to the shared library, teachers need an upgrade plan.
Figure 5. Library
The “Discover” feature of Socrative allows teachers to browse a library of shared quizzes and assessments generated by other educators (Figure 6). Teachers can use Discover to identify assessments that meet their teaching goals by searching for specific themes or browsing different categories. When the assessment is found, the teacher can preview, adopt/ adapt, and store it in their library for future use. It is important to note that the ‘Discover’ feature in the Socrative platform is currently in public BETA, which refers to a software development phase where a product or feature is released to a limited audience for testing and feedback before going public and is only accessible to users in the United States and Canada.
Discover is different from the shared library feature where the Discover feature enables teachers to search and navigate a collection of quizzes and assessments developed by other Socrative users. On the other hand, within their Socrative network, teachers can share, modify, and collaborate on quizzes through the shared library. Further, this feature is only accessible with an upgrade plan.
Figure 6. Discover [BETA]
As illustrated in Figure 7, at account creation, Socrative generates a default room that cannot be deleted or removed from the menu and offers limited customization options, such as changing the room title but not adding a roster. Students have three options to join a Socrative room. One way is to visit www.Socrative.com, click on “Student Login,” and enter the teacher-provided room name. The other two options are that students may use the link provided by their teacher or scan the QR code with a mobile device to access the room directly.
Figure 7. Socrative’s Rooms
Reports and results
After completing an activity such as a Quiz, Space Race, Exit Ticket, or Quick Question-Short Answer activities, teachers can generate reports in Socrative (Figure 8). On the sidebar, reports can be selected by type and exported through email, device download, or Google Drive. Moreover, multiple report types are available, including Complete Results Excel for an overview of the entire quiz, Individual Student PDFs for PDF copies of individual student quizzes, Results Summary PDF for question data and a PDF of the entire quiz, and Answer Key PDF for a single PDF containing the correct answers.
Figure 8. Socrative’s Reports
This section assesses the Socrative platform in light of the TESOL Technology Standards developed by Healey et al. (2008) for language teachers. Using such standards is a way to help evaluators with a common framework for evaluating the same platform which may increase the possibility to come up with similar conclusions and decisions. By utilizing established and organized standards designed particularly for evaluating technology in language learning, the evaluation can ensure relevance to the community of English language teachers who may be considering using the platform. Two of these standards highlight the importance of language teachers using technology to improve their assessment and language instruction of their students. The following are the curated criteria:
- The platform allows language teachers to demonstrate familiarity with various forms of assessment that employ technology (TESOL Standard 1).
- The platform allows language teachers to use technology-enhanced assessment results to plan instruction (TESOL Standard 2).
It is important to mention that these two evaluation criteria are specifically focused on how Socrative can assist language instructors in improving student assessment and planning lessons. Although they do not explicitly mention the modification of formative assessment, they highlight the use of technology in assessment to support effective language instruction. Moreover, the TESOL Technological Standards are a comprehensive set of standards covering a broad range of technology-related topics in language acquisition, including digital literacy.
Overall, this evaluation aims to determine how Socrative meets the following two criteria, which have been specifically selected for their relevance to EFL teachers and their utilization of technology.
The platform allows language teachers to demonstrate familiarity with various forms of assessment that employ technology (TESOL Standard 1).
Using Socrative, language teachers can illustrate their expertise in applying various technology-based assessment methods. For instance, a teacher may use Socrative to develop a brief formative question to determine whether or not students have understood the main idea of reading. It also allows language teachers to demonstrate their understanding of technology-based assessment and their ability to utilize it in the classroom. It also enables teachers to incorporate technology into their teaching practices, improving their credibility as educators and enhancing the learning experiences of their students.
Socrative helps teachers evaluate students’ language skills effectively by utilizing multiple features, including Quizzes, Space Races, Exit Tickets, and Quick Question-Short Response activities. For example, when teachers create a quiz to evaluate their students’ proficiency in identifying and applying a grammar rule. In addition, teachers can utilize the “Space Race” function to engage students in a friendly competition and test their knowledge of grammar by dividing the class into two teams and challenging them to answer grammar questions correctly within a given time limit. Furthermore, the “Exit Ticket” feature can be used to push students to compose a quick response describing how they plan to use the grammar rule in their writing or speaking. With these elements, a teacher can assess their students’ grammar skills, including grammar comprehension, application, and production, interestingly and interactively.
This information, combined with the platform’s flexibility and customizability features, enables language instructors to create quizzes that correspond to the specific learning needs of their students. As a result, using technology-based evaluation tools such as Socrative can help students become more committed to the learning process and receive rapid feedback on their performance.
The platform allows language teachers to use technology-enhanced assessment results to plan instruction (TESOL Standard 2).
Socrative enables language teachers to utilize technology-enhanced assessment results in various lesson-planning contexts. Socrative provides immediate feedback on student progress, allowing teachers to see where their learners could need extra instruction or support. With this information, teachers can adjust their lessons to target weak areas and assist students in enhancing their language skills. Further, Socrative enables teachers to generate reports for activities such as quizzes, space races, exit tickets, and quick question-short-answer activities and export them via email, download, or Google Drive. These reports offer teachers detailed information on each student’s performance, including which questions were answered correctly or incorrectly. Analyzing these results may enable teachers to determine their student performance and make informed decisions about future instructions. By understanding student strengths and weaknesses, teachers can adjust their teaching or assessment practices to better support their students’ learning needs.
Moreover, Socrative provides language teachers with useful insights into student performance that may be utilized to organize instruction and customize learning experiences to fit the unique needs of each student.
Ultimately, Socrative can offer numerous benefits to language teachers. The platform provides various assessment options, such as quizzes, exit tickets, and short-question activities, allowing teachers to select the most suitable technique for evaluating their students’ language skills. For example, teachers can measure their students’ reading comprehension by generating a quiz containing a series of reading passages and comprehension questions, offering quick feedback to students, and assessing their performance to modify their teaching methods. The tool is also user-friendly and enables straightforward adaptation of tests to match certain learning objectives.
One of the most valuable features of the Socrative platform in meeting this criterion is the ability to generate reports in several forms, including PDFs and Excel spreadsheets. These reports can provide useful insights into student performance and can be utilized for future teaching planning. For example, if the report shows that a majority of students are struggling with a particular topic, the teacher can dedicate more time to reviewing that topic in the future. In addition, the platform enables real-time evaluation, providing teachers with instantaneous feedback on student comprehension and enabling timely intervention when required. This is helpful for teachers to assess their students’ participation and understanding in real-time by developing short-question exercises on Socrative and asking for their views or opinions on a particular topic. Teachers can then quickly intervene in areas where students have difficulty or seem disinterested in providing further assistance or clarifications.
Finally, when Socrative is used efficiently in language classes, it can support the principles of the communicative language teaching (CLT) approach. It enhances language learning experiences by allowing teachers to build interactive quizzes and tests. For example, when students actively participate and engage with the Space Race or Quick Question elements on Socrative, they can use and practice the target language in meaningful communication.
However, one of the limitations of Socrative is that it might be better for only some sorts of assessments, as it may be difficult to test some language abilities through multiple-choice questions and short answers. In addition, the free edition of the platform offers limited features that may not suit the demands of some language teachers, such as the limited number of students who can participate in each quiz at a time (50 students only). In addition, Socrative can have limited collaboration between students, while teachers can have accessibility to collaborate, there is no direct way for students to collaborate on quizzes or activities.
Overall, Socrative is a valuable tool for language instructors who want to incorporate technology-based assessment into their teaching practices. The platform’s intuitive interface and adjustable assessment choices make it a valuable addition to language classrooms. The ability to generate reports can provide vital insights into student performance, enabling a more personalized learning experience. Nonetheless, teachers should be aware of the platform’s possible limitations before using it to evaluate specific language skills.
To Cite this Article
Alderaan, H. (2023). [Review of the website Socrative.com]. Teaching English as a Second Language Electronic Journal (TESL-EJ), 27 (2). https://doi.org/10.55593/ej.27106m2
Socrative. (n.d.). Socrative. https://www.socrative.com/
Healey, D., Hegelheimer, V., Hubbard, P., Ioannou-Georgiou, S., Kessler, G., & Ware, P. (2008). TESOL Technology Standards Framework. TESOL.
About the reviewer
Hadir Alderaan is a doctoral candidate in the Language, Literacy, and Technology program at Washington State University. She also serves as an English Language Instructor at the Institute of Languages in Tabuk University, Saudi Arabia. Hadir holds a Bachelor’s degree in the English Language from the University of Tabuk and a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from Montclair State University. Her current doctoral research focuses on Educational Technology for EFL teacher education, and her research interests include second language acquisition (SLA), computer-assisted language learning (CALL), English as a foreign language (EFL), teacher education, and English for specific purposes (ESP). ORCID ID: 0009-0001-2333-6952 <alderaan.hadirgmail.com>
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