With the end of the year setting in, you may be in the midst of assessment season. Or maybe you're getting everything ready for your class assessments directly after the Christmas break. Setting up assessments can be a complicated and time consuming activity for teachers and trainers, so you may want to take a look at some different techniques which might make your life a little bit easier.
One way of changing up the way you administer your final tests or exams could be to use online assessments. You may already be making your students complete their course work online, or do required reading online, so why not let them complete assessments that way too?
There are lots of tools which means you can create online assessments, many of which are free depending on how many assessments you need to create, or how complex they are going to be, so it's important to have a look around and see which tools you think would work best for your course content.
We take a look at how assessing your students online can save you a lot of time, and make a quite stressful time that little bit easier!
One of the biggest headaches when it comes to setting up assessments is the preparation. Obviously, coming up with the content for your quiz, exam, or essay question is an unavoidable task, if you aren't using an assessment created by someone else, but other tasks such as printing particular assessments for different days and classes, as well as ensuring you have enough tests plus some spares, can take up a lot of your time. However, letting your students complete assessments online will prevent you from having to complete this work, and also save you from having to repeat it every time you repeat your course or class.
While you will still have to set up you assessment online, by doing things like entering the questions so your students can see them, after the initial set up, you will have very little additional work to do. With all the questions entered online, you won't need to do any printing, and your assessment will always be there for you to use in the future. Being online will also make your assessments easier to edit, as editing it once online will mean everything is up-to-date the next time your students need to sit an exam or test, and it means you won't have to print out a whole new batch of tests to correct the edit, which could mean using twice the paper!
Less Work Afterwards
Preparation can be a pain, but marking is obviously a huge part of the assessment process. However, having your assessments online can help you cut out a lot of this work. If you are making your students complete things like multiple choice tests, or closed answer questions in a test, you can use your online assessment tool to store the answers for you, as you will be able to enter the answers along with the questions during the set-up phase. This means that once the students has completed their assessments, it should be marked automatically, which means a lot less marking time for you. Another benefit of this method is you can let your online tool display the mark to a student once they have completed their test. This means students can get their results right away, without having to wait days or weeks for you to mark it, so it's a more instant result for them and less pressure on you.
Alternatively, you can prevent the scores from being displayed to your student if you so wish. This may be because you want to take this result into consideration with their other coursework, to work out their overall grade, or you may want to go over all the results with your students in person, so you can discuss their results with them, and give them feedback on any problems they might have come across.
Keeping everything online means you will physically have less to deal with afterwards as well, as you won't have to carry around loads of exam papers, possible from multiple classes. This should mean you can stay more organised, as you won't have to worry about getting different papers from different classes mixed up, and you won't have the panic of possibly losing a students work if things get a bit muddled. However, you may want to backup any work that your students complete online, or even print of a final version for their course work record just to be safe.
Other online features may come in handy, such as the word count feature. While completing tests online works particularly well for quizzes and exams, you can also use it for things like essays. While your online tool won't be able to mark these kinds of assessments, as the answers will be too complex and detailed, you could use it to perform a word count on your students' work to ensure they have stuck to the guidelines you set for them. This will save you counting the words on each student's paper yourself, as even if you only count the average word count of each essay, it can still take up a lot of your time. Using your online assessment tool will not only free up a big chunk of your day, but you can rely on the fact the numbers will be totally accurate, without having to do the hard work yourself.
If you think online assessments could make your job that bit easier, why not try them out for yourself? It's important to make sure that they work for you and the material you are teaching, so you can always do a test run with one particular test or exam to see how well it works. You may also want to use them for more informal tests throughout your course first, before you work up to using them for your end of course assessments.
It's also important to find a tool that works best for you. As mentioned above, a lot of the tools you can use to create online assessments are free, or have free features, so you can always try a few out to see which one you like the most before making the final decision.
In the end, the most important thing is to make sure you are giving your students the best learning experience possible, but saving yourself a lot of time is always a welcome bonus!