While cold calling is practice that most students dread, from a teacher’s perspective, it’s an effective way to encourage students to prepare for and participate in class.
We’ve all been on the wrong side of this situation at least once in our lives, coming to class completely unprepared. And the natural thing to do when unprepared is to attempt to lower our odds of being called on, either by avoiding eye contact, sitting in the back of the classroom, or just not showing up. When students get away with this, it lowers the incentive to prepare and basically allows some of your students to slack off.
Download the Excel Random Student Name Generator by clicking below:
Instructions for Setup
The template is simple to use. All you have to do is go to the ‘Student Input’ tab and paste in the names of your students. This current template allows for a list of up to 300 student names.
How it Works
As you can see above, each student on the list is assigned a random number with Excel’s RAND() function.
The MAX() function is used to determine which student has been assigned the highest number. Then it performs an INDEX MATCH lookup on that maximum number to determine the student name.
For you Excel nerds out there, those higher on the list do technically have a higher probability of being selected. With the way the INDEX MATCH formula works, if two students receive the exact same number from Excel’s RAND() function, the student higher up on the list will be selected. However, those of you who’ve used RAND() before know that the likelihood of two numbers being the same is extremely low.
Once you have the data loaded, the template transposes the list into a table on the ‘Random Student Generator’ tab. This is done using the TRANSPOSE() array function.
From here, all you have to do is hold down the F9 key to shuffle between different student names. Conditional formatting has been setup so that the selected student will be highlighted in red within the table.