Online assessments

Now that the days are starting to turn into weeks and perhaps the end of the school year, teachers are starting to look for ways to assess students online. I want to reiterate what many other people have said about distance learning. Parents and students are looking for something to keep the learning up in these months, but it cannot completely replicate the normal assessments that you give in paper and pencil. Again, everyone is trying the best that they can. Also, don’t assess as much as you did! Think about 3 or 4 solid assessments for students to do. Producing material online, communicating online, giving feedback and grading online is A LOT. Set yourself up for success (as best you can.)

In addition, for world languages and other classes, there is a good chance that students will use Google Translate. Even if you put whatever program on their computer to monitor their computer- they have phones, iPads, other computers etc. Unless you are going to monitor them completely while they are taking the test (I DO NOT SUGGEST THIS!) you have to come up with a way to mitigate this idea.

I do not think this is impossible though! I want to share a few ideas that I have come up with, and I invite more teachers to chime in:

  • I love EdPuzzle for assessments. (I published a tutorial here.) While there are some apps to get around the actual listening, I still think it is a great way to assess for understanding in listening. The students have to understand what the person is saying. If you have a student who is using an online translator, they have to figure out what you are saying before they type it into Google Translate. If you want to record a reading (that you have the rights to!), you could then embed questions into it. Also- keep it simple enough that students feel successful, and they do not need to use a translator.
  • I also like using Quizizz as a formative assessment tool. I personally like that students can continue to take it until they demonstrate mastery. Decide what mastery looks like (for me it is 70), and I have students take the Quizizz until they earn that score. You can decide to only let them take it once or twice and take their best score. (Remind them to use their real names!)
  • This is the TIME for interpersonal writing assessments to come into their own! I plan on having an interpersonal writing assessment to discuss the books that students are reading- but you could do the same with articles or an authentic resource. You can actually live chat in Google Docs (and your students are probably already doing this!) Yes- students can Google Translate- but it is going to be difficult to type something into another platform, read what others are saying and actively participate in a chat. I suggest practicing a few times before you assess because hopefully students will realize it is easier to participate more by writing in the target language instead of translating everything.
  • You can also use Flipgrid to assess comprehension instead of language. (I published a tutorial here.) However, focus on things that are anti translators in your rubric. Can you understand what they are saying? This probably won’t be true if they are using a translator versus words that they know. Also, are they responding to the correct question that you asked? Are they using words from the current story/unit of study or are they using a lot of words from earlier in the year? And for upper levels, are they giving you specific facts, or are they just saying that something is fun/interesting/fill in the blank adjective.
  • The other key if you have items that students are reading, come up with ideas that allow them to use the text that they have without having to manipulate it too much. I have talked about this before, but smashdoodles are amazing! I plan on assessing with them as my students are reading the books. They force students to re-read the book and allow students to demonstrate their understanding. It can be done online or by paper.
  • I have said this in a previous post- but if your students are reading a book or an article, have them demonstrate their understanding by making a video. This can be seen as an interpretive assessment: do they use phrases or words from the article? Do they include the main idea and supporting ideas? Or are students just picking random sentences? In addition, are they demonstrating their understanding by props, pictures or acting? Do their videos demonstrate understanding?
  • I recently incorporated Matt Miller’s graphic organizers into my classes- and I like how they can be used as an assessment. Have your students organize the information from a book, article, video or resource that you gave them into a graphic organizer. Have students compare and contrast with a Venn Diagram or concept map. (I love the concept map one!) I haven’t used cause and effect, but that would also allow students to demonstrate their understanding as well. Also, the plus, minus, interesting chart also looks promising! Again, this activity can ensure that your students are using the information from the resource instead of an online translator.
  • I will probably stay away from presentational writing now. It is too tempting for students to translate everything when they are typing. If you are teaching seniors, consider assigning a short research paper. Many students are required to do this in college but rarely do so in high school. Now is the time! (Unless you have seniors in lower level classes- then don’t do it!) If you want to try it for lower level classes or are required to do so, I encourage you to use a graphic organizer before assigning a presentational writing. This will make it easier for students and less temping to use an online translator. I read that many teachers have their students underline words that they looked up, so they will know how much a student used a translator. You may consider that in your practice.

I would love to hear what other people are planning for assessment. We are literally all in this together- so I am confident that we can come up with some ideas to make sure students are still acquiring language in this difficult time.


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