The things you learn the hard way - Beware "return scores instantly"


I wish I knew about this community before today. I literally did the same thing today @mgarcia. Thanks for your post.


Thanks for head’s up! This is great to know as we implement GoFormative at my school.


Oh yeah, I did that once! Good thing I was just using it for an activity that I was not planning to put in the grade book!


Thanks for the tip. My students have not done that yet but know I am ready for them to try it.


Ugh! I did this too while giving my first GoFormative quiz today! A few 7th graders alerted me to the problem, and I was able to figure out and switch the setting mid-quiz- which amazed me. I was worried we’d all have to start over!


This is a problem I have noticed too. To combat this issue, I make it so students have to submit their assignment in order to see their score. I also create questions (when applicable) that have multiple answers. This doesn’t solve this problem, but it does make it more of an effort for students to cheat.


To reduce ‘clicking until green’ on multiple choice problems, I simply don’t set a correct answer. Then when they click, it stays grey. I grade those by hand. :slight_smile: At first the kids are confused because it doesn’t change to red or green, but when I explain what I did and why I did that, they smile and tell me it was good idea.


This is a great idea! Did you know that you can later go back to add a “correct answer” so we can still take care of the scoring for you?


I was just talking with a social studies teacher about this same issue. We would love to see a limit on the number of times the student can try, but would it be possible to note somewhere that the student tried x number of times?


We could definitely consider showing how many times a student has tried! It’d be great to hear why this would be additionally useful and where you’d like to see this information.


Knowing how many times a student has tried could help me figure out whether I need to go speak to that student or provide an additional support. Although this conversation started from the mindless clicking, knowing that they “retried” for every question could provide some insight as to why. As to the placement, perhapsit could be a little notification bubble (like the ones we get when someone replies to a message) on the right or left corner of the totals. Something like:


Thanks, Mariana! I can definitely see how it would be helpful for checking in with students. As for the placement of this feature, where you placed it is also a logical place to have it. We have two follow up questions for you that are similar to the same things we need to think about when adding the anti-cheating tab feature:

  • Would seeing that indicator next to each response be too much on the screen/distracting? If so, what’s another way we could indicate how many times a student has tried?
  • Where would you like to be able to turn this feature on/off?


It could be that too many “bubbles” is too much. Perhaps the color of the whole box could change after a set number of tries? I’m just imagining this, and that’s what came to me. Hopefully, others will also chime in.

I think the best placement for turning on/off would be at the top of the “grading” screen so that it can be turned on/off for the questions you want to see this way.


I considered a few of things as I read this post:

  • I have also mostly used “return scores instantly” for short answer math questions because I was concerned that the students would click randomly for mc.
  • To try to prevent this, I have set up a “Show Your Work” question first that is not scored and worth 0 points. Then the follow-up question is the mc or short response question with the answer and that is scored. When the students work the 0 point questions, the circle just stays gray.
  • I would love the ability to see either a count of how many times a student tries a question or a list of the responses they tried. It would help so much to see what they are thinking/understanding.

Here’s an example of a quick Formative I have used for a warm-up as students come into class:


I teach Algebra 1 and I do a similar thing. Sometimes I use a MC question for the first question as ‘template’ to show them how I want them to enter their answers (if the appropriate symbol is not there for them to use. i.e. sqrt(7), etc). I also use a Show Your Work problem before a Short Answer, but I find that as kids get older, they are less likely to do something for ‘free’ so I award points for their work. This also combats those ‘cheaters’ who use math apps to find the answer quickly.


This is a great workaround. I believe that @d.vendramin does something similar. Did you know that you can still set the “Show Your Work” question to be work any number of points and it won’t be auto-scored? Just sharing in case setting the Show Your Work question to zero points is an extra step for you :wink:

@tracy.lane @mgarcia @linda.hagen @Kendal_Whisnant @mnunkester @sduncan

We discussed the logistics of having the ability to limit the number of tries gets before the question is locked as well as notifying the teacher of how many tries a student has made for a question.

  • One question we have is…would you want these features for question types beyond Multiple Choice? If so, which ones and what would count as a “try”?

  • Also, if students were locked out of a question because they ran out of “tries”, would you like to be able to unlock the question for them/reset the number of tries they get? If so, how would you ideally like to be able to do this?


Thank you so much for sharing this. I typically go over the questions with the class as a whole. I’ve been using Formatives for quick checks after specific things, or prior to a quiz for some extra review. I’ve always wondered why some of the answers would change from red to green. I don’t know why I never caught on to this!
I would love to see the option of having “tries”. I think that it is a great learning opportunity for students to rework problems, especially in the case of the distractors.


I think I would want this feature for any question type that can be instantly scored, such as Short Answer, Multiple Selection, and T/F. As for what would count as a “try,” I don’t know how the logistics of that would work. With Multiple Choice and T/F, a try can constitute a click that changes the selection. However, it gets trickier with the Short Response and Multiple Selection. Would it maybe be possible to add a button when using Instant Scoring either at the end of the Formative or at each question that says “Check Answer(s)” that triggers the scoring and registers a “try?” TAlthough, that may be similar to returning the score after submission and then allowing students to edit after final submission.

I am an elementary teacher, and I’m sure responses to this could be different at the various levels. I would not need a way to unlock the question if it was locked. I would not be using this feature for a graded assignment. It would be for practice work. I think I would just like a stat about how many students were locked out of particular questions so I could use that information when considering the quality of my questions and the learning needs of my students.

Thanks for asking these questions. I love that Formative is always trying to improve for teachers. Great job!!


Having a button that allows a student to submit a try to see their score for this question sounds like a great idea. As you suggest, this could be limited so that students are not overdoing it. Do you think this serves as a replacement for the feature of actually locking a student out of the question?

Gotcha! So there would be no need for students to return to edit their responses after the system has locked them out? What if they wanted to edit their response based on something new they learned? Would you just have them take a new formative?

You are so welcome :slight_smile: We really enjoy these discussions!


Again, I don’t know what is possible, but, as I read your question, I pictured a button that stays only for the number of tries set for the question. Maybe the button could even have a countdown on it or to the side of it so that students would know how many more chances they had to get the answer correct. Then after the final try, the answer stays for that question.

If the Check Answer button were to disappear from the question after a certain number of checks but the question did not actually lock, the students would still be able to change their answer before submitting their assignment. However, they would not get the instant feedback to know whether that answer was right or wrong. In other words, they wouldn’t really be locked out of the question, just the ability to get instant feedback. Just an idea!

I considered this from several angles, and that would be great if you had the ability to assign a new Formative only to those students who needed a follow-up. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: