During the last two weeks in my grad school program we have been working with ISTE standards as normal, however this time we moved into the coaching standards. We focused on standard 4 Learning Designer. For my own research, I focused on indicator 4b:
“Help educators use digital tools to create effective assessments that provide timely feedback and support personalized learning.”
I chose this indicator because I have been thinking about providing more opportunities for assessment for teachers and students in the classroom. As a teacher myself, I prioritize giving timely feedback to students on their work, but at times this becomes challenging when I have many different assessment pieces to grade. I also have been thinking about the ease of using a tool or program. In order for teachers to use something and really make it their own, they have to be able to try it out without feeling too overwhelmed and then shutting down. Whatever I find and recommend will have to provide prompt feedback and be easy to use.
To start my search, I researched about using digital assessments with students. I found an article on eLearning Industry that talked about how digital assessment tools help teachers deliver better instruction. Some of the reasons they provided were saving time, providing timely feedback, no more stacks of paper tests to grade, and the ability to check for plagiarism. Teachers can also use digital tools to gamify assessments, using programs like Kahoot or Quizizz. This can be a quick and easy exit ticket or used as an actual data point. The best part is that students have fun!
Another reason I am drawn to the use of digital tools in assessments is that teachers are able to track progress of students all in one place. I can see who is making growth in what areas and where students may need some more instruction. By using digital tools, teachers can easily modify assessments to work in summative or formative situations. For instance, the google education suite has worked hard to make their system user friendly for students and teachers. Using a google form and google classroom you can create a quiz for students where the only tab they are allowed to have open is their quiz. You can also set the form to automatically grade for you, where you can then send the results to an excel sheet.
ClassFlow – This program is best used to enhance instruction already happening in class. It does not replace curriculum, but instead could be used to change the format of lessons or used as assessment. Commonsense recommends teachers spending time learning how to use it. I created an account and spent some time using the different features. I would agree that if a teacher is not comfortable with digital online tools then this might be a bit challenging for them, but if it’s someone who feels pretty comfortable online then it’s very doable. If you have a pre-existing google classroom you can import your class which is a good timesaver. It will also allow you to post assignments on classroom which will save students from having to search.
This program also provides quick and easy formative assessment tools such as polls, yes/no, linear scale, matching, etc. There is a market place where you can add free or paid lessons to your library. You can also create a quiz or assessment, which you can then use to track students’ data to see where instruction needs to be honed. For instance, during a presentation you could give students a poll to check for understanding. Based on students’ responses you could reteach or move on. This program is free to use and has in program purchases.
Spiral – This is similar to ClassFlow. You can create learning experiences or use ones that are already created. Your class can be synced with Google Classroom. The basic account only allows teachers to use four activities to keep things simple. They are Quickfire, Clip, Team Up, and Discuss. Teachers get feedback based on how students perform and can then use that data to inform instruction. Assessment can be formative or summative. There is also an exit ticket feature that will show how students performed across the lesson and allow them to self-assess how they feel about the content. This is a paid program that teachers can pay a monthly subscription fee of $5.00 or a yearly fee of $50.00.
Both of these tools that I have shared do similar things. They can both be used in essentially the same way. ClassFlow gives you more feature and flexibility for free while Spiral requires a subscription. As to ease of access, I believe Spiral would be easier for teachers who are not comfortable with digital tools as it does not overwhelm with too many options. ClassFlow although more complex, does have many instructional videos available on Youtube. Either way, teachers would be able to enhance both instruction and assessment. There are many more tools out there. Let me know if you have any other good programs you’ve used or would recommend!
- Common Sense Education. (2014, March 12). Top Tools for Formative Assessment. Common Sense Education. Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/top-picks/top-tech-tools-for-formative-assessment
- Dammann, Stacy Newbern and DeSantis, Josh. (2017, October 30). Unlocking the Promise of Digital Assessment. Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/unlocking-promise-digital-assessment/
- Gorman, Michael. (2015, January 22). Important Considerations for Using Digital Assessment Tools. K-12 Blueprint. Retrieved from https://www.k12blueprint.com/blog/michael-gorman/important-considerations-using-digital-assessment-tools
- Herold, Benjamin. (2014, March 10). Testing Digital Tools to Improve Formative Assessments. Education Week. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/13/25personalized.h33.html
- Lin, Nancy. (2018, March 3). Digital Assessment Tools: What Is Their Impact On A Teacher’s Work? eLearning Industry. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/digital-assessment-tools-impact-teachers-work