My thoughts on the benefits of digital objective testing:
- Automated grading- My number one reason for loving digital assessments is the ability to automate grading.
- Using digital testing gives teachers the opportunity to quickly perform pre-assessments that can guide teachers forward in a curriculum.
- Using digital testing gives teachers time. Teachers often spend hours a week grading papers, projects, homework, and tests. Digital testing frees up some of that time for them to be able to spend in planning.
- Using digital testing allows for an increase in feedback for both the teacher and the student. Exit tickets give teachers immediate feedback on how the lesson was received and understood for the next day (or even the next period). Automated grading gives the teacher the opportunity for students to have a better sense of their knowledge along the way. I would even go as far to say that there are definite times assessments should not be in the grade book. Use this option as a tool to help students learn what they need to learn. In many digital platforms (like below in the LMS Canvas) when setting up quizzes you can actually give students multiple attempts so that it is not only an assessment tool for the teacher but it allows the student the opportunity to master the concept by going back and practicing/studying and taking the assessment again. CHALLENGE THE EDUCATOR question: Are you assessing in order to have grades in a grade book or are you assessing to know what your students know to get them to the ultimate goal of mastery of your curriculum concepts?
- Paperless- There are definite pros and cons to being paperless but I'm going to share the pros in this. No longer are there stacks of paper on your dining room table, desk, and crumpled in the bottom of your computer bag. Digital testing leads to classroom management. Tests can't be "lost" and because it is paperless there is no waiting on a teacher to give back the grade. Feedback can be immediate. CHALLENGE THE EDUCATOR question: Do feel led to embrace pathways of sustainability for our world? Do you feel you have a responsibility for teaching your students how to steward our natural resources (such as trees/paper)? Creating paperless opportunities in your classroom supports that line of thinking.
- Individualization- Digital testing lends itself to being able to differentiate learning in a more streamlined, less labeled manner. No one knows that one student is getting a different "level" of a test than another. For instance, when setting up a quiz in Canvas (see below),https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=416 This aspect allows you to also hit on the next two ideas of "remediation" and "acceleration." CHALLENGE THE EDUCATOR question: If you aligned the questions you entered into a quiz with an outcome (i.e.- standard, essential understanding) and you then knew what individual concept your students were not understanding, would you use that information for each student?
- Remediation - Let's assume you said yes to the last challenge question. Because your desire is for all students to succeed, you could then create paths of learning that would allow those struggling students to master the curriculum set before them. In Canvas, there are options called Mastery Paths (see below) CHALLENGE THE EDUCATOR question: If you had data that showed you where your students had gaps, would you use that data for their good? Would it be worth the effort?
- Acceleration - In many classrooms across the world, it is the common, accepted practice to teach to the average student. But just like those kids that are below that norm have issues that can be addressed with digital testing, we also have the ability to push those higher achievers further in their learning with the mastery paths as well. They can either go farther faster or deeper into the concept for understanding. You're the teacher, the path is for you to decide but you've seen those bored faces waiting for the next chapter. CHALLENGE THE EDUCATOR question: How are you, your school, and your district helping students progress that could accelerate through the curriculum? How do you support those students that could move on?
- Data for student progress - Any teacher worth their salt can grade a stack of tests and see patterns of lack of comprehension, it's part of being a teacher. But with digital testing, you have the ability to look at that data in a whole new way. To drive instruction forward for your entire class, select groups, or individuals. Not only that, what if you could see the mastery from year to year? What if last year's math teacher could tell you the fundamental struggles the students you are about to teach have? Data is a four letter word but it doesn't have to be a bad word. We as educators tend to think of data as something being done to us, but: CHALLENGE THE EDUCATOR question: What if data helped you drive your day to day instructional strategies? Would that immediate feedback be useful to you? Could you adapt your standard mode of operation to include rethinking the next day's curriculum instead of grading papers for 1-2 hours every day? ###