Friday, December 22, 2017

Paper/Pencil vs. Online Assessments

This year most students have been taking their math assessments via paper/pencil and online. What have a I noticed?

There is value in both.

The paper/pencil gives you good insight as to how a child tackles a problem and solves it whereas the online assessments provides a good class view of how the children together take the assessment since it's easy to sort and sift the data to inform your teaching.

Online student's copying and input errors are hard to rectify whereas with paper you can see the error trail. For my strongest students, they are keenly aware of their input errors and how that affects their scores. I think that will help them to do a better job on state and systemwide online tests as they will be more careful to input data correctly.

Online tests help students who have visual or reading challenges since the online tests can be used as an assistive technology to lessen those challenges in multiple ways.

The ready feedback available via the online test builds students' metacognition and learning. Students eagerly look at their test responses to see what they got right and what they got wrong. They are quick to point out to me if an answer they think is right is marked wrong which leads to a good conversation and also good information for me to use as I continue teaching that child. Further I'm able to easily look at a child's results online and share those results as needed via the Internet which is efficient and helpful when it comes to working with colleagues.

I like the combination of using online and offline tests together. While not perfect, the effort is demonstrating some important points. For one, some teachers are noticing that it's too difficult for some of our most challenged students to complete the work on paper and then input the data. This may mean that these students need a scribe for standardized tests and this is an accommodation we need to consider.

Of course I want to build greater use of the performance assessment too--an assessment that's multimodal including presentation, three-dimensional models, and more to demonstrate skill, concept, and knowledge.

Do you use the combination of online and offline assessments? If so, in what ways do you find this advantageous and in what ways do you find this to be cumbersome or ineffective? I'm excited about developing this work in the days ahead and look forward to your responses.