8 Ways to Assess Online Student Learning

8 Ways to Assess Online Student Learning

Student assessment has changed in the new millennium. Though there’s something to be said for old-fashioned paper and pencil methods, new technologies are evolving daily to assist teachers with this task. Students today are bombarded with technology, virtually from the day they are born. Not only are they familiar with the technology, they expect to use it in all aspects of their lives, including at school.

 

The draw of technology is the lure of instant gratification. It is for this reason that old-school ways of assessment, when they are still used, must be engaging for the students, informative for the teacher, and as quick and entertaining as an Instagram post. Here are 8 methods for classroom assessment that are sure to engage students, support student learning, and prove informative for ongoing teacher assessment.

1. Quizzes

Though it may seem old-fashioned, quizzes are an excellent way to engage student learning, particularly when paired with technology. Quiz answers can take a number of forms, from short answer to true/false and multiple choice. One benefit of quizzes is that they are short and easy to assess. Another is that, with digitally designed quizzes, question order and options can be randomized, so each student’s quiz is unique.

2. Fill-in-the-Blank Cloze Activity

For a quick, short answer assessment tool, cloze activities are a great fill-in-the-blank alternative. To complete this option, teachers write a series of statements about important lesson points, replacing key topic terminology with blank spaces. This is similar to a multiple choice question, except students have a wider choice of options in that they must choose the correct term from a larger word bank, or come up with the term themselves, based on what they remember from the lesson. This type of assessment may take the same form as the quiz above. Teachers can assess via a digital medium in real time, by asking students to mark their peers, by collecting and marking overnight, or a combination thereof.

3. Matching Questions

Similar to multiple choice questions in quizzes, matching questions offer students a bank of words or phrases from which to choose their answers. When using matching questions, teachers provide text and/or images and ask students to pick an option from column A, and the corresponding matching option in column B. Unlike multiple choice questions, matching questions are not limited to 3 or 4 options, making matching questions a little more difficult to solve via process of elimination. Matching questions are great tools for minds-on activities. They also work well as diagnostic and formative assessments, and/or as quiz questions.

4. Forum Post

Asking students to contribute to a forum post is an excellent way to gauge student understanding, pique their interest, and support their learning. In this activity, students are given a critical thinking question based on a lesson or a reading, and are asked to reflect on both. Their answers are posted to a forum and their peers are given the chance to respond. Parameters may be set with respect to initial posts and peer responses. When closed, the teacher can view the forum to see how students are engaging with the material.

5. Peer Evaluation and Review

Participating in a forum fosters communication between students. Peer evaluation and review allows students to anonymously review and edit each other’s work. Third-party platforms, such as TurnInItn’s PeerMark, facilitate distribution and the collection of data using rubrics or prescribed assessment questions. Teachers are able to log in and track individual participation in the activity, as well as monitor comments or peer evaluation feedback.

6. Poll/Quiz results in real time

Conducting a student poll is a great way for students to answer questions truthfully and anonymously, and to see, in real time, how they stack up to the rest of the class. Many LMSs have a built-in poll feature, which calculates and displays results in real-time. Polls are made especially powerful when paired with a forum post or live quiz. Students may be polled first, and asked to explain why they voted in the way they did in a forum post. Similarly, real-time quiz apps or separate hardware, like clickers, can help teachers poll their classes. The software generates and displays results so students can see how their answers compare to the rest of the class. The advantage of quiz apps over clickers is that students can answer polls by logging into the site with their handheld devices.

7. Exit Cards

Exit cards, also called “minute papers” are question-and-answer style tasks that students must complete in the final 5 or 10 minutes of a class. Though they may contain questions similar to those covered in the quiz and fill-in-the-blank sections above, they are most useful when students are asked to exercise critical thinking ability in a short answer response. Students may be asked a single question requiring one or more sentences, to summarize the main points of the lesson, or to complete a task, such as solving a math equation or writing a thematic statement for a piece of literature. Exit cards are quick to assess, as they contain only a few sentences at most, but they can help the teacher gauge student understanding of learning targets in a short amount of time. Digital exit cards may be collected via email or using an LMS’s internal messaging system.

8. Online Learning Modules

Using an LMS to create an online learning module is a great way to gauge, track, and modify student learning and engagement. To create an online learning module, the teacher creates a series of slides or web pages, which are organized, delivered, and monitored by the LMS. Teachers can use branching to provide additional instruction and/or questioning to support the level of each learner. Students can be barred from moving forward in the module until selected criteria – gauged in the form of completion of tasks, polls, quizzes, etc. – are met. Teachers monitor student progress using a variety of tools (most of them detailed above) for assessment and evaluation purposes, modifying the module as they receive assessment results.

Though most LMSs support the creation of online learning modules, forums, quizzing, and teacher assessment and evaluation and feedback, iSpring Learn LMS is a good cloud-based and user-focused choice for easy teaching and online learning.

In addition to using iSpring Learn LMS for assessment and evaluation, another method for creating and implementing many of the above assessment tools is with iSpring Suite, a powerful collection of digital resources for educators.

Use iSpring QuizMaker to build customizable and interactive assessments. iSpring QuizMaker allows teachers and educators to incorporate audio, video, images and animation to create a variety of interesting and engaging assessment activities, including matching, sequence, multiple response, multiple choice, survey and hotspot questions, using branching techniques as described above. Flexible scoring allows teachers to assign a number of success criteria including passing scores, awarding custom and penalty points, and points for part answers. Quizzes created with iSpring QuizMaker have the added bonus of being fully accessible for all devices and LMSs.

All-in-one Online Quiz

See how iSpring QuizMaker can create and embed an online quiz with all the methods used above:

Have you used any of the above assessment methods in your class? Do you have any other useful methods you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below!

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