Using Technology to Create, Administer, and Analyze Classroom Assessments
Whether it’s a common grade-level assessment, benchmark, interim, district-wide, or standardized state exam, assessment is an important and time-consuming part of every classroom. Data gathered on students is critical to every teacher’s next move. But it can be overwhelming when we are constantly inundated with grading, organizing, and analyzing the results, only to finish just in time to start planning…for the next assessment!
I’ve been experimenting with different forms of assessment lately. Here’s my advice on how to use technology in order to make student assessment and data analysis easy and efficient.
Best Feature: Quickly organizes students results
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a huge fan of the free resources Google provides. By creating a “form” via Google Docs, you can create and distribute an assessment to students without using any paper. A Google form allows you to create an assessment with a variety of question types, including multiple choice, free response, and Likert scale. Choose from a variety of colorful themes to “spice up” your online assessment and then deliver it to students in the form of a link.
While the questions themselves can be diverse and complex, the best feature of Google Docs for assessment building is easily the quickness with which it organizes student results. From the Spreadsheet view, click Show summary of responses (under the Form menu) and voilà! You have a colorful, graphic collection of your students’ responses, question by question.
Creating a form via Google Docs takes some practice. If you are new to forms, check out my Teacher Quick Guide with step-by-step instructions for how to build your first test or quiz. Check out the tips at the bottom to ensure that your assessment is professional and delivered to students with ease!
Assessment on the iPad
Best For: Acting as clicker or project presentation
One of the best uses for your iPad when it comes to assessment is the fact that it can act as a “clicker.” There are a variety of clicker apps available for download. iResponse PRO, Student Clicker, and eClicker are among the most popular. I prefer eClicker for its versatility and easy reporting. Download the “Presenter” version for $14.99 and then add the “Audience” version to your student iPads for free.
Socrative, which uses the Student Clicker, has a simple and easy interface with multiple uses. Socrative’s blog, Socrative Garden, has a great selection of activities and 21st-century learning tools worthy of checking out.
If your students are assessed based on a project or work of art, organize and file them away using Three Ring, a new app that manages portfolios of student work. Because I manage over 250 middle school students and their data, I use Three Ring to hang on to exemplary work that I then have at my finger tips when I meet with a parent or want to showcase something at conferences.
Try a Test Builder
Best feature: Pre-built tests that you can customize and distribute
There is a multitude of test-building software available, and your school or district likely already subscribes to one. Ask your principal what’s available and take advantage of it!
Test-building software can help you build professional exams, and usually allows for easy insertion of graphics and multimedia. Test builders vary, but most will allow students to take the assessment via paper or online. Pearson’s Schoolnet is among my favorites because of how efficiently it analyzes students’ data upon completion.
Online Learning Exchange has a new test-building function that comes loaded with sample questions and premade tests and quizzes. Assign a custom assessment written by you or one designed by OLE, and have students take it online or on a printer-friendly version.
Nontraditional Forms of Assessment
Best for: Student motivation by having real audience and ELL Students
There are many ways blogs can be used in the classroom, including for assessment. The advantage of blogging is that students are motivated by the fact that there’s a real audience (whether it’s their peers or other readers). Use this online, public forum to inspire some of your students’ best work.
Blogs can be used to assess students’ understanding of a topic by posing an essential question or discussion topic. Turn your classroom blog into an individual response system by posting an exit ticket question and requiring students to answer via a comment that is later projected in front of the class and analyzed. Exit tickets are a form of formative assessment, which means they are for learning. In my classes, they are used for teacher reflection and not necessarily student grades.
Many of our students struggle with demonstrating their learning via traditional question-and-answer methods, particularly ELL students, who may not yet be proficient readers and writers. By giving my students a hands-on task that I assess based on their performance, I can get a more accurate gauge on the skills they have developed over the course of a unit.
In science class, this might be the execution of a lab or completion of a certain task like using a microscope effectively to make observations of cells. Just like other forms of assessment, performance tasks require the use of a well-written rubric in order to reliably assess students.