Educator Story

How Top Hat Test Helped a Chemistry Professor Save Tons of Time

2-3 hrs

Time spent grading routine quizzes before using Top Hat Test

0 hrs

Time spent grading quizzes with Top Hat Test


Number of students found cheating on in-class quizzes

The Challenge

Joshua Osbourn’s students weren’t coming to class prepared, but motivating them through regular quizzes took up too much of the instructor’s time

Joshua Osbourn noticed his students weren’t arriving to class primed to learn. “There was a lack of preparation on their part,” he says, noting what tends to happen when the course isn’t one a student elects to take purely for interest’s sake.

To address the issue, he introduced regular quizzes as a means of creating more accountability and gauging student’s comprehension. But he found that to be an onerous task. “It was so time consuming,” Osbourn says. Between printing out copies, which wasn’t good for the environment and spending a couple of hours grading hundreds of quizzes, he found “it wasn’t a sustainable way to do things.”

“Before, it was this long process to run quizzes. With Top Hat, I can launch the quiz, have it auto-graded and students receive results automatically. It’s a huge time-saver.”

Joshua Osbourn Professor
Joshua Osbourn Associate Professor, Chemistry, West Virginia University

The Solution

Osbourn implemented Top Hat Test and Top Hat Classroom together to monitor comprehension and increase accountability

Thankfully, Osbourn found Top Hat’s all-in-one teaching solution provided options that allowed him to monitor comprehension and increase accountability in far less cumbersome ways.

Osbourn came to rely on Top Hat Test for regular, low-stakes summative assessments. He administered a short quiz at the end of each unit with questions streamed straight to students’ devices, eliminating the need for paper. The automatically-graded quizzes would help him evaluate students’ knowledge, and the results would be used to inform future lectures. Osbourn also doesn’t worry much about cheating since he introduced Top Hat Test, despite students being packed in pretty close together in the lecture hall. Just being informed of the software’s capability to identify and lock out test-takers suspected of cheating was enough to discourage students copying off one another, he suspects.

Osbourn would also leverage Top Hat Classroom for formative assessment, pausing his lectures and asking questions every few minutes. Doing so enabled him to keep students actively engaged for the length of each lecture, while monitoring learning in real-time and getting feedback on the fly, allowing him to better prepare them for the coming quiz.

The Results

Top Hat Test helped Osbourn manage his teaching load and students demonstrated a renewed interest in learning the material

Overall feedback from students since Osbourn started using Top Hat has been positive. “The students like how it keeps them engaged in the material. ” And perhaps more significant than the verbal feedback Osbourn received from students, he noticed that after he started running quizzes on Top Hat Test, students would often linger outside the classroom post-lecture waiting for the instantaneous feedback on their performance. “They would wait for me to update the gradebook. They loved that they could get their [quiz] results instantaneously.”

Apart from knowing that his students are benefiting from using the platform, Osbourn himself loves how Top Hat has helped him manage his own teaching load.

“Before, I was writing out all my questions, and it was this long process to run quizzes. With Top Hat, it takes a bit of upfront work to put the questions into the platform, but once that’s done, it’s done. I can launch the quiz, have it auto-graded and students receive results automatically. It’s a huge time-saver.”

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