Linking to learning

Digital assessment tools

Assessing students is an essential part of the learning process. A variety of new tech tools to measure learning can make our lives as teachers easier.

Formative assessment is ongoing evaluation (not always graded) to monitor student learning. The feedback we get from formative assessments helps us tailor instruction and uncover areas that may need additional instruction or modification.

Here are some digital tools:

• Digital exit slips with Google Forms. Use Google Forms to create a digital replica of a paper exit slip. Students answer questions, and their responses populate your private spreadsheet. It’s easy to organize and better than cutting hundreds of slips. Should you run out of time in class, students can fill out these exit slips later online. See these video tutorials on YouTube for more help.

• Quick quizzes with Kahoot. Kahoot is an app that lets you build review games that are fun and nonjudgmental. Students can complete some comprehension questions, and you quickly see how many may be struggling.

• Surveys with PollEverywhere. Poll-Everywhere lets you get a sense of what the class as a whole knows. Design a survey as a check-in, and if most can’t answer it correctly, you know you need to review. Answers are anonymous, so students are free to respond honestly. One caveat: While great for gauging the majority, surveys may miss individuals who need help.

• Review with “Jeopardy!” Game Maker. Who doesn’t love a good “Jeopardy!” game? With Jeopardy Labs, you design your own competition based on the show with custom categories and questions. You can be Alex Trebek, or you can assign a student to host. Questions students can’t answer are good targets for review.

Summative assessments are culminating measures of learning to demonstrate mastery of specific learning objectives, given at the end of a topic or unit. Yes, summative assessments can take the form of tests and quizzes, but these assessments can also be project-oriented. Results are usually added to the grade book.

Here are some digital tools:

• Online quizzes or tests with Engrade. If your school subscribes to the popular Engrade gradebook, you can create timed, online multiple-choice quizzes that assign grades and record scores. Here’s a video tutorial that explains more.

• Digital portfolios with Google Drive. If you are assigning mostly digital work, it’s nonsensical to have students create a print portfolio. The collaborative collections on Google Drive make it the ideal place for students to collect and organize their work, with space for reflection and comments. Students can share their entire portfolio with you, and you can add feedback — all in one place. Here’s a tutorial to learn more.

• Audio/visual culminating projects. Many options exist including podcasts, iPad videos, interactive presentations and screencasts. Devise a way students can demonstrate their knowledge of your unit through designing a creative project. Be sure to have a rubric with expectations and your grading policy. Check out Rubistar to create a rubric.

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