Using Technology for Assessment
“The teacher’s job is not to transmit knowledge, nor to facilitate learning. It is to engineer effective learning environments for the students. The key features of effective learning environments are that they create student engagement and allow teachers, learners, and their peers to ensure that the learning is proceeding in the intended direction. The only way we can do this is through assessment. That is why assessment is, indeed, the bridge between teaching and learning.”
Assessing student work is surely your favourite activity. Be it creating or grading exams or quizzes or other assessment techniques. Well, that was a bit tongue in cheek. Assessment is often the least favourite part of teaching.
This module will:
- Suggest a few simple tools and practices,
- Refresh your knowledge of assessment types,
- Suggest where to go next.
Assessment is the third component of designing a course. The traditional ways are increasingly failing students and instructors, are a burden and the information they provide is not very useful compared to the effort. Technology is improving in this space and can suggest necessary intervention, make learning more fun and more.
- Simple Kahoot quiz during class can enliven the instruction. It is fairly popular with teachers at lower level of education and in language teaching, but can work for adult and tertiary education. The quiz serves as check for student learning, can replace attendance sheets (and you can award points). Multiple quizzes can replace exams as well.
- Students can even provide the questions themselves. In a project management course students even organized a review session with Kahoot quiz based on the textbook and lecture content (would you participate as instructor?). (Polleverywhere or Mentimeter are similar tools.)
- In online learning you can see which students are missing. A note to them early in the semester prevented students dropping out later (as they become overwhelmed with multiple courses). (And yes, this is fairly labour intensive, we are waiting for simple tool to automate this.)
- Tool such as Gradescope (https://www.gradescope.com ) can simplify the grading process. So can tools such as Moodle, Blackboard, Turnitin (ttps://www.turnitin.com/) to make sure students are doing original work , Classflow (https://classflow.com/) has plenty of features including interactive quizzes.
- Software such as Nearpod (https://nearpod.com/ ) can include collaborative activities and formative assessments.
- Technology should save work for you. Even if the setup will take you some effort, can you save effort in long term? Can you recycle questions, build a question bank, replace other more labour intensive assessments, share work with other instructors? However fun some these tools are, if they are adding work for you, this will not be sustainable long-term.
- Many of the tools have free licenses. If not, does your school have a school-wide license (or license of similar tool)?
- Does your current LMS have some analytical functions? (If not, check back in a few months.)
- What is your course design? How does assessment link to the course objectives and course activities? Do you include both formative and summative assessments? Do you include sufficient number of low-stakes assessments? How are the assessments spaced out during the course?
- Are you getting any information from the assessments? Do you know where students are failing in your course, for example? Why is that so?
- Burns, Monica: Tech-Based Formative Assessment, https://www.edutopia.org/blog/tech-based-formative-assessment-monica-burns Short article with multiple suggestions you can use.
- Assessment for Learning, https://www.coursera.org/learn/assessmentforlearning Online course from University of Illinois. Covers assessments types, learning analytics and future of assessments.
- Learning Analytics Unraveled, https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/learning-analytics-unraveled Online course from Maastricht University.
- Learning Analytics, https://library.educause.edu/topics/teaching-and-learning/learning-analytics Collection of resources from EDUCAUSE, non-profit association focusing on IT in higher education.
- Sclater, Nick: Rolling Out Learning Analytics at a National Level, https://er.educause.edu/articles/2019/6/rolling-out-learning-analytics-at-a-national-level Case study from a UK environment.
- Ploth, Rachelle: How I Got Started Using Technology To Assess Student Learning, https://www.teachthought.com/technology/how-i-got-started-using-technology-to-assess-student-learning/ Older article, personal experience, suggests a few tools as well.
- Teachers Helping Teachers: moving economics classes online — in a hurry, https://community.mru.org/ See the section on “Feedback & Assessments”.