Word Clouds to Assess Learning

Word Clouds to Assess Learning January 29, 2016

I really like the suggestion that Shayna Sheinfeld shared in a recent article, for using word clouds in a pre-test and then post-test in classes. If you ask students what they think, or think they know, about a topic, on the first day of class or the start of a new unity, and create a word cloud from their answers, and then do the same at the end of the semester or the end of the unit, you will be able to see visually how their vocabulary has broadened, how their understanding of what is important may have shifted, and other important things, by placing the two word clouds side by side.

Below is an example from a course on Judaism.


Judaism word cloud

What do you think of this idea for informal assessment? I like the way it allows the data to be visualized in a manner that is conducive for use in class, so that students can see it and benefit from it as well as the professor.

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  • The Eh’theist

    In facilitating sessions for organizations, I’ve run key informants’ responses through this sort of tool, and then shown the group the resulting word cloud, in contrast to their official list of priorities.

    It can be a real shock for them to discover that some official priorities don’t make the list, and others, thought to be of individual interest only, were important to all stakeholders, but had never been shared with each other.

    It could also work well as a measurement of individual professor’s biases areas of focus in courses where multiple offerings by different faculty occur.

  • charlesburchfield

    for people with dyslexia, visual artists & for those who are both word clouds are wonderful! it helps to ‘connect the dots’ when the words are made into a picture like that. words are next to each other in different shapes and colors! I love it! (*|:D