Try these great digital strategies for assessment

Assessing students over time using digital tools also helps save teachers' time

Educators can make their instruction more effective and provide practice linked directly to progress monitoring and formative assessment results using a number of free digital tools. Teachers can also take advantage of time-saving features such as automatic grading and the computerized compilation of points awarded for correct answers so that test administration takes less time and there is more time teaching.

While many educators have used progress monitoring and formative assessment results to guide their instruction and provide related practice, they now can create their own adaptive assessment and practice loops, with a correct answer automatically leading to the next question, while a wrong answer takes students directly to a practice activity that helps them master the content or skill being assessed

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During a recent edWebinar, Kelli Etheredge, a director of teaching and learning resources in Mobile, AL, identified key benefits of formative assessment technologies presented by members of the Microsoft Education team. These benefits include being able to accommodate the needs of diverse learners by developing more personalized learning pathways, so that every student can reach a level of success.

Creating quick quizzes linked to personalized practice

Jon Kay, a Microsoft senior program manager based in Beijing, China, explained how Microsoft Forms for Education can be used to develop quizzes and other assessments quickly and easily, while incorporating features that enable students to make continued progress, and also saving teachers time needed to evaluate and utilize assessment results.

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Using Forms, educators can create their own questions, identify the correct answers, assign point values for each answer, and customize the next step for students based on their answers. An easy-to-use navigation system lets educators choose different types of questions, such as multiple choice or text. There’s also a Math Intelligence feature that can suggest related questions, which can be used to create worksheets related to the questions for students who need additional practice.

The assessments and practice activities can quickly be personalized using Microsoft’s Immersive Reader, which enables educators to change the text size, translate questions, or have them spoken aloud, in order to make them accessible to students who are English Learners or have special needs. Students can also upload files containing their answers to a folder where only the teacher can see their responses.

Documenting progress and integrating the process

Ann Kozma, an education innovation lead, explained how students can use a digital app called Flipgrid to document their learning and demonstrate their progress in unique ways. Flipgrid divides a screen into a series of rectangles, each of which can contain different topics or show a sequential progression. And each of the rectangles can contain different media, such as videos, text, or drawings.

Using this tool, students can respond to prompts in their own ways and in a variety of ways. They can document their individual learning pathways independently. As Kozma and Etheredge pointed out, this type of documentation can be especially helpful for students who may be reluctant to participate in class discussions due to shyness, limited English proficiency, or special needs, but who may feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and knowledge in a safe environment via a digital format.

The creation of assessments and their implementation can all be integrated through the use of Microsoft Teams. Tosin Bosede, head of Teams for Education marketing, explained how the digital hub can integrate conversations, content, and assessments. Educators can use this tool to organize and implement their participation in multiple teams, with one team being a classroom of students, for example, and another being the educator team that creates and evaluates assessments.

For assessment purposes, Teams can be used to document students’ participation in online collaborative conversations, or to access online notebooks in which students may be demonstrating their understanding of a topic even if they don’t participate in classroom discussions. Teams can also be used to develop rubrics with other educators or with the students themselves so that the students “know what success looks like” early in the learning and assessment process.

Bosede pointed out that digital tools like Teams are now used in many workplaces, so building a familiarity with these types of tools will help students prepare for 21st century careers, as will their ability to respond effectively to online assessments and use a variety of formats to communicate.

About the presenters

Kelli Etheredge is the Director of Teaching and Learning Resources at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama. She supports preK-12 teachers in effective integration of technology and innovative lesson design. She taught high school English for 14 years and has been teaching in a 1:1 environment since 2000. For a few years, she transitioned out of the classroom to focus on supporting the 1:1 learning initiative in grades 5-12 (no textbooks, class OneNote notebooks, and digitized devices) modeled after her classroom. She now supports teachers in their technology integration and teaches design thinking classes that work with local non-profits to solve community challenges. Additionally, preK-9th grade students visit her Innovation Lab to explore real-world challenges connected to their core curriculum and examine solutions by going through the design thinking process. Her work with students has been featured on Copy/Paste, TeachTech, Microsoft in Education, OneNote, and Daily Edventures blogs.

Tosin Bosede is the head of Teams for Education marketing. She loves to connect with educators and school leaders to understand how technology can improve learning and innovation. With a decade of technology experience, Tosin is focused on ways innovation transforms everyday life. She holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Jon Kay is a Senior Program Manager on the Microsoft Forms team in Beijing, China, primarily focusing on service backend fundamentals and EDU. His previous Microsoft work spans Windows 7/8 Printing & Scanning, Windows 10 Geolocation & Compatibility, Bing News Search, and PowerPoint Online. He spends his free time traveling the world, browsing Reddit, and listening to podcasts.

About the host

Ann Kozma loves to explore, share, and contribute and has spent the past 18 years dedicated to empowering others and transforming teaching and learning as a classroom teacher, an innovation and instructional support teacher on special assignment, and as an Educator Innovation Lead on Team Flipgrid at Microsoft. Ann loves to explore, share, and contribute to the greater EdTech community and presents at local, national, and international events. She believes that “Play is our brain’s favorite way to learn.” and is a member of the Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2015, Leading Edge Certified as a Professional Learning Leader, and is a CUE Inc. Lead Learner. You can connect with her on Twitter at @annkozma723.

Join the community

Assessment for Learning is a free professional learning community on edWeb.net where educators can learn from top experts to improve assessment practices, explore new tools and personalize teaching so every child can meet and exceed state and district standards.

This broadcast was sponsored by Microsoft Education. The recording of the edWebinar can be viewed by anyone here.

About the Author:

Robert Low has worked in educational publishing for more than 30 years. His experience ranges from editing and product management to online advertising and content development. He also works with edWeb.net to write articles on their professional learning edWebinars.

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