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14 Nov 2017

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Avid science Kahoot!’ers projected to perform 75% above district norms

After a year of learning with Kahoot!, science teacher from Texas Jack Quinn saw his students growing 1.75 times the district norm in exams, according to projected data.

When a previously unengaged student comes over after class and asks for a kahoot link to play more at home, you realize game-based learning makes a difference. Kahoot! got my students more plugged into learning, helped them improve mastery of complex science topics, and, as a result, they did 11.4% better in their exams compared to last year and are projected to grow 75% above the district norm.

In this interview, I shared the highlights of our success story:

Bringing Kahoot! on board

I’ve been playing Kahoot! with my students for quite some time, but it was definitely our first game that was the most memorable. It was set up as an open note review, with directions for students to base their answers on evidence in their notes or book. I was delighted to see how eagerly students started debating the answers: “It can’t be answer C, B was an example in our notes from Monday.”

Now, the first thing I often hear when student enter the class is “Do we get to play Kahoot! today?” Then they ask that I text a link for the quiz to their parents, so they can play at home.

Practicing leadership and collaboration skills

We often play Kahoot! in team mode. While playing in groups, I have students practice being leaders. The group leader must provide the final answer selection for each question. However, he or she must listen to their teammates to give evidence-based advice on which answer is best. My class loves the competition, and, even before the game starts, they are excitedly picking their team name.

The way I host games, each question often initiates a Turn and Talk or small group discussion. Students need to know the goal is evidence based discussion and debate over the answer choices, not picking a random answer quickly and hoping it turns out alright.

Improved mastery reflected in numbers

Game-based learning with Kahoot! fuels content mastery and it has been a game changer for my students. I looked at the numbers to evaluate the learning impact, and here’s what I found when I looked at how my students did in state exams.

In Science, the first cumulative exam of the year is always the toughest. For many students it’s the first time they have encountered Science questions at the rigor level of a state test.

During the 2015/16 school year, my 94 students had an average score of 69% on their first cumulative exam, and during the 2016/17 school year my 97 students had an average score of 78.72% on their first cumulative exam. It’s a 11.4% improvement after a year of learning with Kahoot!

In 2015/16 median student growth in my class was 1.42 times the district norm. For the 2016/17 school year, my projection for the growth is 1.75 times the district norm.

I owe a great deal of the increase in results on my first cumulative exam and STAAR release results to Kahoot! The ability to engagingly work with deeply rigorous questions in context, reached students in profound ways I had not predicted.

Research methodology

Here’s a bit of background info on these numbers. Both in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 school years, I collected answers using bubble sheets and scanned them in a well known grading app. After that, the collected data was analyzed using SAS systems software to compile average scores.

Comparisons within the same cohort were developed based on 9 standards assessed before Kahoot! and 15 standards assessed after the introduction of Kahoot! The comparison in scores between years was made using the same first cumulative exam and the 2014 Science STAAR release (just a quick recap for non-Texans: STAAR stands for The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, a series of standardized tests used in Texas public primary and secondary schools) Then, I determined projected growth by taking the difference in trend lines from Science STAAR Release scores from the 2015/2016 school year vs the 2016/2017 school year.

This created a trend line that best fit the results from the 2013 STAAR Release, 2014 STAAR Release, and the 2016 Science STAAR administered to my students (who demonstrated growth at 1.42 times the district norm) for the 2015/16 school year. I then extrapolated the projected final score for the 2016/17 year assuming a similar linear growth trend, and calculated average growth evidenced on the 2017 Science STAAR to be equal to 1.75 times the district norm. While I am waiting to have this number confirmed by the research and accountability office of the district in which the test was administered, the same trend calculations predicted individual student achievement with a variance of +/- 3 points.


I owe a great deal of the increase in results on my first cumulative exam and STAAR release results to Kahoot! The ability to engagingly work with deeply rigorous questions in context, reached students in profound ways I had not predicted. It gives extra motivation even to those students that were previously unengaged and had lower academic records. Even after classes, students will come up to me to ask for a link to the game we played so they can practice their kahoot over the weekend.

Bonus for all science teachers! Here are some of the kahoots I created.

Other Texas-based educators should also check out Kahoot!’s new collection of TEKS aligned, ready-to-play games!