17 March 2014

Thoughts on Assessment in the Online Environment

   I've been using some online assessments this year. These are primarily reading quizzes or unit tests. I am currently split between formative (reading notes quizzes to check for misunderstandings) and summative (unit tests) assessments.
   There are several things I need to consider when using online tools for assessment:

  • What is the tool I am considering? Is it the right tool for the type of assessment I am doing? For example, Socrative might be more appropriate for an exit ticket rather than a chapter quiz.
  • What type of assessment am I doing? As a history teacher, I often get caught up in summative assessments. Should the assessment be formative instead? For example, today, my students read an article about Crimea. I then had them take a short quiz to check for understanding. The quiz was in Edmodo, so I was able to check each response for every student. I was also able to give feedback to EVERY response that wasn't on the money. We'll do some review tomorrow and look into the reading a bit more, then students will check their understanding again with a new set of questions.
  • In the example above, I used short answer questions. Is that the type of question that's appropriate for my assessment? In this case, I decided that I DID want to see if my students could extract information directly from the reading, so multiple choice would not have been appropriate.
  • Should I use a tool for self-grading? This is a no-brainer for multiple choice questions, but for more open-ended responses, self-grading might not be an option. 
   I like the idea of being paperless and today at least, I had easy access to a computer so I could correct quizzes in a timely fashion. As we move into a blended environment, I am concerned about reading essays online. As I've said, I do NOT find it easy to read large blocks of text on a computer screen, so I will have to figure out a way to make it work for me.