Sunday, August 9, 2009

Why online testing?

When studying digital portfolios recently I understood that only examples of creative pieces could be included. I had not contemplated that other forms of assessment could be included other than scans of written assessment which would be time consuming and of poor quality.

However online test sites have been established that make make it easy for learning managers to get students engaging with a format of assessment that is becoming becoming increasingly prevalent.

I had the task of formulating a SOSE lesson for a Yr 7 cohort and needed a different way of engaging students. Rather than marching down to the resource room and getting in the queue of teachers waiting at the photocopier at 8.30am and using a whole tree to provide a paper test, I was able to have a clear and paperless assessment ready the night before. This format also gives me the flexibility of letting the learners do the test at their own pace and time of choosing rather than set every student to attempt the test at the same time. I also found that it encouraged the Habit of Mind (Marzano 1999) of thinking and communicating with clarity and precision as it automatically gives feedback on the student's answers (if that is the test author's preference).

This could be a good thing but alternatively being in a digital format there is less room for individual interpretation as only the narrow view of a correct answer is permitted. Is it detrimental to the learner or the assessment criteria if an error in using upper or lower case causes a much lower score? With a written test there is much more scope to assess the learner's thinking process or intent and allow for minor errors.

Another limit I can foresee is that there is only four types of questions allowed by this format however that is only this site, another site might offer the versatility to include diagrams, et cetera depending on the subject.

Overall I found this site another useful tool in the toolbox of the learning manager.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Stuart,
    I appreciate your thoughts regarding written testsm where there is "much more scope to assess the learners' thinking process or intent" (MacAdam, 90). I have experienced much frustration in the past with on-line, multiple choice tests. They always tell you that only one answer is the BEST answer. But, sometimes I wish I could explain my reasoning behind a particular choice. This way, even if I did not choose the BEST answer, at least some merrit could be allocated for the thinking behind the choices made.
    I guess this is important for us to recognise as future educators, and to perhaps include a range of assessment strategeis?