How to use technology to assess and improve student learning?

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Recently, many schools have begun using digital technologies for assessment purposes. There are a variety of methods and tools available, but there are also drawbacks and obstacles that come along with those methods. The goal of this post is to provide an overview of the main types of electronic assessment that teachers can use in their classrooms, as well as some thoughts about their usefulness for different types of projects. We will also explore some potential difficulties with these assessments when compared to traditional paper-and-pencil tests or quizzes.

What are the best ways to use these tools? 

Many schools have adopted a “just-use-whatever-works” approach to teaching students about technology and No Child Left Behind . This is unfortunate, as the right tool can provide teachers with all sorts of benefits. Nowadays online proctoring is at the peak use.

Our goal is not just to describe what digital assessment is, we need to figure out how we can apply it in our classrooms.

DIGITAL ASSESSMENT

While this post will focus on quiz/test design, there are many other uses for digital assessment. Below are just a few suggestions for how to best use apps, quizzes, and other software tools:

  1. Audience: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to assessing students. Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses in different subjects. However, most tests can be used by both teachers and students, although there are specialties that each can perform better than the other.
  2. Survey: A survey is a good way to engage students in inquiry projects who would not normally take part in a project like this. A quiz or test should be used as a way to gather information about how well they understand the material when compared with their peers (and the teacher’s expectations). 
  3. Diagnostic tool: A diagnostic test can be used to determine how well a student has mastered a specific part of the curriculum and where they are struggling. This allows the teacher to design an individualised learning plan to help the student overcome their struggles.
  4. Self-assessment: Students can often provide self-assessments, which can give teachers valuable information. For example, is there a specific area where students know they are weak, or do they feel that they have mastered the material? The results can help the teacher prepare for class in more ways than one.
  5. Assignments: Some assignments (such as reflection papers) require students to assess how well they have completed an assignment. A self-assessment can help students improve their work, as they will understand what they need to do differently in the future.

Features of Digital Assessment

  1. Differentiation: Many of these tools are customizable, so teachers can adjust the assignment to meet the skill level and/or needs of all of their students. The task can also be made easier or more difficult based upon the results that were received.
  2. Individualised learning: This kind of assignment requires students to use the same technology. However, it is possible to use different software so that students can all have an equal advantage. This can be especially useful in subjects that do not require a lot of technology knowledge, such as language arts or history.
  3. Cooperative learning: While there are other tools that can be used in cooperative learning, this post will only fully focus on digital assessments. Many instructors have used the Pomodoro technique and various other ways to keep their students engaged in collaborative work with keyed-in computers (such as using I Spy or Word Scrapers).
  4. Context: Digital assessments can be used for multiple subjects and in different contexts. For example, students can work on an assignment in the language arts classroom and then take a test on the same subject with the same questions when they return to their science or maths class. One of the most common uses of digital assessments is to provide practice questions before a larger exam. This can be a good way to help students feel more confident going into an assessment period or even just to help them review material that they’ve learned throughout the year/semester.

DIGITAL ASSESSMENT ISN’T ALWAYS THE BEST WAY

We often think of technology as an automatic way to improve students’ learning. However, there are many ways to improve students’ learning without digital assessments. As a teacher, your main responsibility is to ensure that students are receiving the most instruction possible and doing well in that instruction. Sometimes this means using digital assessments to measure student performance, but other times it does not. The major difference is in how well the assessment measures the student’s actual knowledge, ability, or skills of understanding concepts that the teacher wants them to master.

The right tools can help teachers understand where their students are struggling during a specific unit or project. Below, I’ve provided some ideas for different ways you can use these tools when assessing student learning. This list is by no means exhaustive and will most likely grow over time.

1. Pre-assessment: 

Before students take a test or quiz, they can use this assessment to see if they know the material or have mastered the skills required before being faced with the actual exam. This can be useful for quizzes and tests, as well as subject-specific projects.

2. Sorting: 

Sometimes, you might have a lot of material that the students need to go through in order to master a specific skill set (such as with the case study kind of lessons). This kind of sorting assessment allows students to sort through their work and see how well they have completed their objectives before moving on to another set of activities.

3. Pacing: 

This assessment can also be used if you’re trying to figure out how many days/weeks/months your class will need before teaching a certain topic or learning certain skills. This is especially useful if you’re trying to figure out how much time students should spend on a specific unit or project.

4. Self-assessment: 

Some students learn better by assessing their own work than having an instructor look at it for them. This assessment can be used for this purpose, so that students know where they might need extra help with a particular skill set (or if they need to do an extra activity in order to feel more certain about their ability).

5. Instructor-assessment: 

Sometimes, your assessment period is actually more of a formality than anything else. If this is the case, you might as well take advantage of digital assessments to save yourself time. This can be especially helpful if you have a lot of students and/or a lot of material.

There are various software which are available. Mercer Mettl is one of the best choices, as it is very simple and can be used on various devices. You should really check out their demo which is provided by them for free.

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