iClickers Not Recommended for High-Stakes Testing



Educational Technology Services (ETS) does not recommend using iClickers for high-stakes assessments, like midterm or final examinations.  Though iClickers have proven to be fairly reliable for short one-question-at-a-time quizzes, there are a number of possible problems during an extended testing period. These include:

·         clicker batteries dying

·         students forgetting remotes

·         input error

·         a potentially higher likelihood of cheating

·         the instructor accidentally stopping the session prematurely


If you decide to use iClickers for midterms and finals, the Self-Paced Polling feature allows students to advance through the entire list of questions at their own pace instead of everyone having the same amount of time for each question.  Keep in mind that this feature is only available to students with the iClicker 2 model (identifiable by the LCD display).  Students using the original iClickers cannot participate in self-paced polling.  (For the manufacturer’s best practices for using self-paced polling, please visit https://macmillan.force.com/iclicker/s/article/i-clicker-6-Best-Practices-Self-Paced-Polling.)


Because we do not recommend using iClickers for midterm or final exams, ETS cannot offer technical support for that use.  If, however, you decide to use iClickers for these exams, here are recommended guidelines from the Academic Integrity Office:


Before the exam:

1.       Use your intended testing process for a lower-stakes assessment (such as a quiz or practice exam) in a class before the exam. Do not attempt to use iClickers for the first time on a midterm or final.

2.       Remind students about academic integrity at the beginning of the quarter and before the exam. Research has shown that students do not always understand academic integrity in the same way as their professors. Talk to them about what academic integrity is in your class, why it matters, and why they should value it.

3.       Be clear about what constitutes cheating in your class. For example, you should be very clear that clicking in for someone else in class or during exams constitutes fraud and that cheating will be reported to the AI Office. 

4.       When possible, use assigned seating so that you know who is present for the exam.

5.       Prepare an identical paper version of the exam.  Consider including a statement or true/false test question to the effect of:

On my honor, I affirm that I am completing my own exam without any unauthorized assistance and have refused to aid any other student in completing this exam.


During the exam:

1.       Have students complete both paper and iClicker versions of the test and turn in the paper version as a backup in case of problems with the iClickers.  Students may complain about the dual effort so frame this ahead of time during your conversation of academic integrity.

2.       Count the number of students in the room or check empty seats against your seating chart to ensure the number of responses being received matches the number of students in the room. The use of assigned seating also makes it easy to identify who was not there but still had answers submitted on their behalf.

3.       Monitor students to make sure no one is using more than one iClicker. This is a very common practice on our campus and one that is often not addressed. If you detect a student using more than one clicker, take both clickers away from them and make them finish the hard copy exam at the front of the room (where you can see them). Record their name as well as the name of the student they were clicking in for.

4.       On the paper copy of the exam, have students print and sign their name, and include their student ID.


If you have any questions about protecting academic integrity in your classroom, whether with iclickers or otherwise, please contact the AI Office at aic@ucsd.edu or extension 22163. If you detect cheating in your class, you can contact the AI Office for assistance.


See academicintegrity.ucsd.edu for more information.


Please note that ETS is not responsible for any scores that are not recorded, inputted incorrectly, or any other errors that may occur during the use of the iClicker student response system during a midterm or final exam.