What’s the best way to assess students online and get valid results? There is no easy answer for this. It is really difficult to do. All online schools and platforms struggle with this. Many of the standard testing tools used in in-person classes (like multiple choice tests) don’t work well in a virtual setting. So what do you do?
- How do you know the student who is earning the credit is the one actually doing the work? This is the bane of online teaching. It is really hard to tell who is actually doing the work in on online setting.
- How do you prevent students from looking up the answers or texting their friends during a test? You can use kiosk mode to lock the screen, but students can use another device to look up the answers. AP dropped multiple choice questions in online their tests this year and created short answer/essay questions under the knowledge that students will be using the Internet during the test.
Tools for giving virtual tests and quizzes
- EdPuzzle: a teaching tool used to embed questions and more into pre-existing video clips.
- Quizizz: an online tool to create and share quizzes.
- Textbook specific software (like by Pearson). Some textbook software allows you to give online tests and quizzes, but you have to set them up specifically for the software. Often it involves installing special software on the student device or access to a special website. Either way, these are another step more complicated.
- Google Classroom
- It does a good job managing the submission of assignments, like tests. It keeps the students work tagged to their email and marks the submission time.
- Your can give tests through Google Classroom using Google Forms as the the actual test. It takes a while to actually make the test, it is tough to actually grade the test from the data sheet produced, and you need to put the grades into Powerschool when done. For me, Google Forms are too awkward.
- I give the assignment/test through Google Classroom but link to a Docs document that the students actually turn in.
- Word/Docs: You can certainly give a quiz with Google Docs. It may take time grading like printed paper, but it works.
- PDF files are too difficult to edit to work normally for test and quizzes.
Other ideas for virtual assessments
- Ask questions with answer cannot be easily Googled. For example
- Show an image and ask the students to explain how it relates to the topic being tested.
- Use essay or short answer questions asking them to summarize ideas. I tell the students that I Google their answers when I have doubts about whether or not they wrote them.
- Limiting time. Give students a limited amount of time to answer things. This limits the amount of time they can search for answers.
- Projects. Have the students build a project that demonstrates understanding. Part of their grade is to show the progression of the project, like rough drafts.
- Demonstrations. You can have the students demonstrate their knowledge in a Google Meet or a video. They can show and explain their work or lead a discussion or lesson.
- Video. Have the students record themselves demonstrating or explaining the content. There are now lots of free, quick tools for doing this.
- Oral questions and exams. Give the student questions to answer for a test in Google Meet. You know who is taking the test and can gauge easily if they don’t know the material. I often give the students a short oral quiz (2-3 questions) about their project to confirm that they indeed did their project.