Point Barter is an online quiz system that allows students to trade points for hints. For each question, the student has the option to barter a pre-determined point value. If the student does not know the correct answer and chooses to barter, points are automatically deducted from the overall point value of the question and the hint is displayed. Each question can have multiple hints. After the bartering transaction, the student answers the question. If answered correctly, the student is awarded the remaining points.
Point Barter’s key feature is similar to an important element of strategy games. It gives students the option to trade something of value - quiz points - for information that leads to the achievement of a goal - a correct answer. More importantly, it reinforces that there are multiple paths to success. A testing system that allows students to draw on outside information promotes ingenuity and strategy.
We conducted a pilot study of the Point Barter system to evaluate usability and student perception. After using Point Barter to take an exam, participants overwhelmingly reported a positive experience. Many identified a reduction in test anxiety. Ninety-five percent of participants would recommend that Point Barter be used in other classes.
This interactive testing activity engages students using a game-like format for assessment that provides continual feedback as the student participates. Students can gain insight on the subject while also being evaluated on that knowledge. The exchange of resources - points for hints - is familiar to many Millennials because of its commonality with strategy games in which a character trades currency (points, coins, etc.) for weapons, powers, or even clues to advance their mission. Success in such games is achieved through careful compromises and an exploration of options. In games, there is always a way to achieve success, and usually there are multiple ways to that accomplish that goal.