John Galloway reviews ClozePro 2 from Crick Software
Cloze procedures – providing a text with spaces for missing words which students have to fill in to give correct, coherent, meaning – have long been recognised as a useful way of assessing pupils’ understanding of what they have learnt.
However, they can be fiddly to create, particularly if you want to differentiate them to reflect the different levels of ability in a class. Unless you have ClozePro 2 from Crick Software that is. This program is easy to use and flexible enough for a teacher to use on a whiteboard with a whole class, or by a teaching assistant to quickly create a meaningful, differentiated, activity.
With ClozePro 2, creating a cloze procedure is simple. Type or paste in text, then remove some of it. This could be a regular gap (every third word for instance), a particular instance of a word or letter pattern, or even individually selected words or parts of grammar. The whole thing can be printed out or completed on-screen, where a reporting system automatically marks it, giving a percentage score and recording the errors for later review.
All very straightforward and fairly standard in this sort of software, the clever bit with ClozePro 2 is in the variety of tools available to support students in completing the exercise. For a start there are word grids that can be placed on different sides of the screen, or set to pop up; they can be set to show the same set of words or a different set for each gap, and any words used can be removed. More help presentationally comes in the option to have blurred words in the gaps, and pictures from the Crick Picture Library to illustrate the text or the word grids.
Then there are the speech options, using the Sayso speech engine which is constructed from sampled speech, which sounds less computer-generated than rivals. It can be set to read the whole text, the words in the grids and even the missing words, which is just one of the built-in prompts. Others include revealing the word one letter at a time, flashing it for a second, or simply filling in the gap; the use of any of these will be captured in the report.
It is hard to fault this program for the flexibility it offers every member of the teaching staff for creating the kind of resource that can be used right across the curriculum with pupils of all ages and abilities. The props and reports help them to succeed, but also let the teacher know where weaknesses may lie.
The quality speech engine, the inclusion of the impressive graphics library and a tweak to the 'look and feel' make this an improvement on its predecessor, without changing the focus, form or function of an established stalwart.
Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose 5
Ease of use 4
Value for money 4
Cloze procedure software, from £125 for a single user licence, plus £20 for each additional licence, from Crick Software