As the academic year moves closer to the end, we still find ourselves teaching students in a way that 12 weeks ago would have been unthinkable. Throughout the school, teachers have continued to deliver outstanding lessons despite the difficult circumstances using so many different tools at their disposal.
It is without a doubt that assessing students’ understanding and progress has been more challenging and time consuming when compared to our default mode of delivery. Over the final few weeks, it is more important than ever to obtain a solid understanding of students knowledge gaps and misconceptions. Come September, it is likely that schemes of learning will need to be adjusted from the norm to allow for reteaching opportunities. Information that can be obtained through assessments will be key to making informed decisions leading to appropriate adjustments being made.
Here are a few final reminders and ideas about how to assess students understanding and knowledge.
- Polling tools
By asking questions and developing lines of enquiry that combine prior knowledge and real-world observations, you can add a level of interaction to lessons. Instant polling can often keep lessons interesting. Moreover, with the ability to ascertain any gaps in knowledge both at an individual and class level you can tailor future planning to support the needs of all learners.
Mentimeter – An interactive presentation tool, Mentimeter lets you poll your students and check their level of understanding. There are many different types of questions you can create including image-based, multiple choice, scales, open-ended, questions from the class and more.
Poll Everywhere – Helping you to engage your class in real time, Poll Everywhere is a live audience polling tool. You can ask questions during your lessons, and see live data and reports with responses appearing in animated graphs/charts.
Digital portfolios provide a dynamic way for students to work. The online equivalent of an old-fashioned mood board, these portfolios can also be used to present work to teachers and their peers. Alongside more traditional written work, photos, videos and audio recordings can all be shared.
Padlet – Padlet allows teachers and students to make boards, documents, and webpages. Easy to use and contribute to, you can include a huge range of information including photos, documents, web links, video, and music to make the text come alive.
Google Jamboards – Students can work in groups using Jamboard, collaborating in real time with drawings, images, and text. Jamboards can also act as a presentation tool, too. The flexibility of the app and the integration with Google Drive make Jamboard a tool that students can use throughout a project or present their final outcome all in one place. This is a great instrument for when you want students to bring things together.
Making use of videos
Throughout our virtual curriculum delivery, formative assessment through the medium of video has become increasingly popular with teachers.
Online tools which make use of self-created videos or those found on online services such as YouTube allow for questions to be added at set points. Students need to respond to each question as they appear before being able to play the next part of the video. Don’t forget that these tools allow you to upload your own recorded videos. So, not only can you assess understanding, you can also monitor engagement by tracking whether students have watched the video and for how long!
Edpuzzle – With Edpuzzle, teachers can turn videos into lessons. It’s easy to add your voice narration and questions. You can use videos from platforms such as YouTube, or record and upload your own. You can also insert a quiz anywhere and track student progress.
Flipgrid – With Flipgrid, students record short videos and reply to each other’s videos. Educators are 100% in control with video moderation, access controls.
The power of quizzing
While quizzes might not seem the most inventive way to learn, online tools have proven very powerful for students when memorising and recalling facts and for teachers to quickly assess knowledge. There has been a boom in the market with so many different apps, websites, and games available for creating and delivering everything from quizzes to flash cards, to polls and exit tickets. Low-stakes quizzing remains populate among students and has been a ‘quick win’ in terms of engagement during the virtual mode of curriculum delivery during school closure.
Quizizz Quizizz provides an environment where students respond to questions at their own pace. A scoreboard on the presenter’s screen can be shown to add a competitive edge to the activity. Quizzes can be set through Google Classroom for students to complete in their own time. There is no need for live delivery. Powerups and streaks help to engage learners through gamification.
Quizlet Live – Quizlet Live lets students work together to find the right word or definition to a given description. It’s ideal for practising and assessing students understanding of key terms and definitions. In order to use Quizlet live, you need at least 12 descriptions or terms. However, these descriptions can be reused to also create flashcards, gravity game, tests, matching activities and spelling exercises.
Kahoot! – Probably the most well known example of a live quizzing tool, Kahoot engages students with its competitive edge.
Unlike Quizizz, Kahoot! is teacher paced. Students have to select the right answer as quickly as possible. For every right answer they score points. If the answer is correct, the student also receives additional points for how quickly they answered the question. Like all the other tools, diagnostic feedback lets teachers view responses from students and identify trends or common mistakes. There is also a bank of premade quizzes, just like the other two examples.
These are just some suggestions for how to quickly embed assessment opportunities into your virtual lessons. With several weeks to go, it’s important to think carefully about student engagement. I would urge you to create a fear of missing out (FOMO) among your classes. Consider what types of activities they enjoy and use the aforementioned tools or others you know to encourage high levels of participant and effort.