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How to take attendance the easy way with Poll Everywhere

There are several creative uses for live student polling in the classroom.

Some educators create choose-your-own-adventure-style lectures, others craft interactive radiology quizzes. But a constant favorite is simply taking attendance.

I’ve seen all sorts of guides and suggestions floating around online on how best to use Poll Everywhere for taking student attendance. Let me simplify this process with a three-step guide that’ll take you through registering students, taking attendance, and checking the results.

If this is your first time visiting Poll Everywhere, welcome. I’ve broken down each step in detail so that anyone can follow along. I’ve also included some additional tips for you returning pollsters as well. Know that some of the steps discussed here, such as designating correct choices for questions and generating reports, require a premium account. Be sure to check Plans & Pricing for more information.


Step 1: Register your students

The first step in taking attendance is to register your students. This creates a list in your Poll Everywhere account that is used to check attendance. To help keep things organized, I’ll show you how to automatically add those students to a group as well. Groups make it easy for you to sort students by class or grade.

How to register students

  1. Sign in to Poll Everywhere
  2. Click ‘Participants’ at the top left
  3. Click ‘New Group’ in the left-hand menu
  4. Name your group, select ‘Done’
  5. Mouse over your group name, select ‘Invite’
  6. Copy the link, share it with your students

Taking Attendance Group Link

When your students open this link, they will be instructed to create a Poll Everywhere participant account. The account is free, and their information will be automatically added to the group you created. Once that’s done, you can edit their information if needed, or move students between different groups.

Tip: If you’d rather add students directly, you can download and fill out this handy template and upload it on your account from the ‘Add participant’ screen. This will automatically generate new accounts for each student.

Click here for more information on student registration.


Step 2: Ask your attendance question

Now that your students are registered and neatly organized into groups, it’s time to take attendance. Taking attendance is as simple as asking a question. Any question will do, but here’s an example that helps circumvent clever students who try and feign attendance.

Creating your attendance question

  1. Sign in to Poll Everywhere
  2. Click ‘Create’ and enter ‘What’s the Word of the Day?’
  3. Type in some responses, click check mark to set one as correct
  4. Click ‘Create’ to create your poll
  5. Select ‘Response Settings’ then ‘Registered Participants Only’

What you’ve done is create a multiple choice question (‘What’s the Word of the Day?’) with no obvious answer. This question can be presented straight from the web, or embedded into any presentation. So, how do students know which answer to pick? You tell them. Simply tell your students which is the correct choice (or write it on the board). This way only students who are attending class will know the answer.

Taking Attendance Poll Example 3

Tip: If you wanted added security against sly texting, enable a timer for your attendance question. Setting a short timer that automatically locks the poll will help prevent students from both entering their answer and also swinging over to a messenger and texting their absent friends.


Step 3: Check the results

This is where all that registering and grouping back in step one pays off. Once students have responded to your attendance question, you can create a report that shows exactly how each person answered. Poll Everywhere supports six different reporting types, but for this purpose let’s use a Gradebook report.

RunningĀ a Gradebook report

  1. Sign in to Poll Everywhere
  2. Click ‘Reports’ at the top
  3. Click ‘Create report’
  4. Select ‘Gradebook’
  5. Select your attendance question, click ‘Finish’

Your completed report will appear after a moment. Several names and response may appear if you’ve used this question multiple times. To sort through them, click ‘Participants’ on the left-hand side and use the drop-down menu next to ‘Group by’ to apply your different groups. Doing so will also display the names of students who are part of that group but did not reply to your question.

Taking Attendance Gradebook Example

Once you’re satisfied, you can download, print, or export this data to Blackboard of Canvas. Of course, Poll Everywhere can be used for a lot more than taking attendance. Live audience polling has many benefits in the classroom, and engages students in your lecture through interactive questions. And because responses are submitted online, rather than spoken aloud, everyone can feel comfortable contributing without public scrutiny.

Versatile classroom response system

Conduct formative assessments and increase student engagement with Poll Everywhere.

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