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Classroom Performance System Resource Guide

About CPS

The Classroom Performance System (or CPS) is one of many "classroom response systems" that are on the market today. In general, the technology is an in-class assessment tool that allows the professor to both receive and provide instant feedback on the effectiveness of their teaching, or the extent to which students are learning. The technology consists of radio-frequency receivers, hand-held remote devices that send a signal to the receivers, and software. The software is free and can be installed on any computer. If you do not teach in a large lecture hall where the receivers have already been installed (see list below), you can bring a CPS receiver with you to class and plug it into the computer in the classroom (if the room is not already equipped with a computer, then you can bring a laptop and LCD projector as well). If you want to request for the installation of the software on your classroom computer, please call Media Support Services at (or, contact your schools tech support division).

How it works

Professors can create questions ahead of time, or generate verbal questions on the fly. At the appropriate time in the class, the professor can project a question on the big screen. Students, in turn, consider the question and then submit their responses with their remote devices (also called pads or clickers). The professor can then show a distribution of the responses in a chart on the big screen. All of the data that is generated from the questioning can be saved in the CPS gradebook. The technology is particularly useful in getting students in large lecture classes engaged in the subject matter and with each other. It is also useful for addressing controversial subject matter because the students are anonymous to each other (however, they are not anonymous to the professor). The art of asking well-constructed and well-timed questions can serve a number of functions including promoting active learning, increasing student engagement and participation, quizzing for comprehension, and taking attendance.

Where is CPS installed

  • Monroe Park Campus locations:
    • Oliver Hall: Room 1024
    • Life Sciences: Rooms 151, 155
    • Temple: Rooms 1160, 1164, 1165 and 1169
    • Hibbs: Rooms 203, 303, 403
    • Business Building Auditorium
  • Medical Campus locations:
    • Smith Building: Rooms 103, 216, and 224
    • School of Nursing Building: Rooms 1009, 1011, 1013, 1015, 2001B, 2001C and 2001D
    • Sanger Hall: Room 1-044
    • Egyptian Building: Baruch auditorium
    • George Ben Johnston Auditorium (305 N. 12th St)
    • Medical Sciences Building Auditoriums

There is a second method for using CPS in the classroom. This method is particularly useful for small classes, classes where you will use CPS infrequently and inconsistently, or when you want the students to be anonymous to both themselves and to you. This method requires you to purchase a set of clickers with the equivalent number of registration codes. Upon registering each remote into a database, you can randomly hand out the remotes before class and then collect them after class. You will still gather data from the questions that you ask but the data will not be tied to any one student—unless you assign each student to the same clicker each time you hand them out.


Virginia Commonwealth University | Center for Teaching Excellence
Last modified: June 20, 2013
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