Testing with Tech: The Role of Technology in Supporting and Enhancing Assessment

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Jeannette Maingot (not verified)

Technology in the Classroom

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There is no doubt that the myriad technological resources available today have opened many new possibilities for the accumulation and recording of assessment information. There are numerous software packages for assessment methods such as, for example, portfolios, which can be very helpful in the student’s commitment and independent learning. Email, data bases, and discussion boards are also good ways to store and exchange the work of students both while in progress and as products, and, of course, they also speed up the feedback mechanisms in both directions. This feedback is one of the most important aspects of assessment because of the great impact it has on the students’ learning. Assessment through the Internet – by means of whatever system one uses – can have many advantages. For one, the frequency of assessment can be greater than with traditional methods. The immediate feedback is very important to students who link their products to results. Adequate tutoring and orientation can be offered to those who need it and this will increase motivation to continue studying. Another advantage is the immediate correction of work and assignments by the teacher who can then detect errors and/or weaknesses early and, if necessary, redirect teaching. Also, measurement (stability and precision) is more reliable due to the type of tests (objective) that are commonly used. Last, but not least, is the matter of flexibility concerning access (space and time) and, of course, the students’ increased motivation.
I think that the use of technology in different assessment strategies depends mainly on the learning we want to assess and how we want to use these assessments. If the objective is merely summative and the level of learning deals with the knowledge acquired, the most practical way to assess this knowledge would be to use objective tests. On the other hand, if the intention of the assessment is formative, learning has a constructivist context, and motivation is an important factor, we should include some form of self evaluation and, of course, also in this case, provide immediate feedback.
The integration of technology into the curriculum of a school is a gradual process which will necessarily depend on many variables mostly related to the following four factors: 1) the available technological resources as such, i.e., hardware and connectivity; 2) the particular pedagogical philosophy and technological competence of the instructor; 3) the availability and correct use of the appropriate digital content; and 4) the administrative, pedagogical, and technical support offered by the educational institution in question.

Anonymous (not verified)

The role of technology in supporting and enhancing assessment

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In response to Grant Wiggins I agree that technology is overused. But I am always concerned about students who have no access to the rest of the world. There are many teachers and students who rely on computers/internet to explore their surroundings. I don’t think that computers should just be used for assessments. Technology is the future and in addition to traditional reading, writing and arithmetic we also have to jump on the technology band wagon.

Bobbie (not verified)

Technology in classrooms

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I strongly believe that students should have access to computers in their schools. There are certainly lessons that can be reinforced with the use of the new softwares, websites, and eductional resources that are now readily available I remember when there was a time when Commodore 64's were considered to be highly advanced and weighed more than I did when I had one. Now, computers come as small as the palm of your hand. I'm still amazed.
As a Language Arts teacher, I am able to use computers for my lessons and have even developed the use of iMovie for a publications course that used to be primarily paper and pen work. I can see how other teachers might be unwilling to let go of the amount of control they have with paper and pen exercises , but they have to see the bigger pictures they are creating. Computer literacy is a necessity in todays job market, and it's something that we need to prepare our kids for. Additionally, by giving some control to their students, teachers are giving more responsibility to their students with their education. Responsibility is what matters. Some kids will use it well and others won't. The point is that our kids are going to leave school with the skills they are going to need for their futures.

Michelle Johnson (not verified)

Technology in Assessments

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I agree with Ms. Means that using technology as a way to assess students is less threatening than the old system of tests and quizzes. Technology is something that students are familiar and comfortable with and find infinitely more interesting. In today’s world, students use technology in almost everything that they do. This could be why students have become increasingly disinterested in school. It’s a far cry from what life outside of school is like for them. Outside of school they have their cell phones and texting, they have their play stations and computer games. In school they have books and worksheets. It is easy to see why they find school uninteresting and exams frightening. It is nothing like what their world is like.

The problem is the cold, harsh world of reality. I would love to use more technology in my classroom. The problem is the lack of resources and money. Let’s face it, textbooks and worksheets are cheaper and easier to buy. This is why they are more common in the classroom than other modes of learning. It’s expensive to equip every classroom with computers and projectors. In our school it was hard enough to get one computer per classroom and several computer labs set up much less have cool gadgets that every student would be able to use simultaneously. School districts have done extensive studies on how best to instruct students, but unfortunately the budgets have not caught up.

Anonymous (not verified)

Using technology to assess learning

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in response to Barbara Means using technology to assess:

We are so lucky that now there is so much offered in the way of technology! With just a little encouragement and guidance students can create a Podcast, use digital cameras, garage band, audacity, imovie, moviemaker, or one of the multitude of other technology resources available to make learning fun. Will they feel like they are being assessed? Probably not, but there will definitely be enough to make some sound assessments on how the student is progressing.

Anonymous (not verified)

Technology in assessment

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The use of technology in assessment should be implemented at all levels of education. These days, kids are learning to use modern technology at a faster pace than we ever did. We as teachers need to keep up with them. We need to enhance their learning by using any available pieces of technology. We cannot keep their motivation about learning up if all we use to teach is the boring old textbook. In my opinion, I think that when teachers use more technology in their classrooms, students seem to forget that they are being assessed because they are more intrigued with using a piece of technology to show their own personal creative side. All in all, technology makes things more interesting in the classroom not only for the students but for the teacher as well. As for the comment about electronic portfolios, go for it. This would make things much easier to read and more organized. I think that the days of copying papers and collecting papers in a binder should be done with. Electronic portfolios are much more professional looking and the students get to design them the way they want too.

Tiana Gonzales (not verified)

Role of technology in supporting and enhancing assessment

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Indeed, technology is the way of the future. I do agree that technology can improve quality of instruction and assessment, but what about the actual learning? After all, isn't that why teachers are here anyway. We should be focused on the actual learning that goes on, not if our jobs of delivering instruction has been made easier. Technology can help certain aspects of curriculum, especially when tracking grades, but does it help students learn. I am going to be a math teacher, and I find it difficult to allow the use of technology so freely in my classroom. I want my students to truly grasp the concept and learn how to compute, solve, and think! I don't want to sit my students in front of a computer or put a calculator on their desk and see what they can come up with. Therefore, I think technology has its place in the classroom, but in moderation. Teach students to learn and use the programs, calculators, and computers, but only after they have learned the concept of the material and can think and solve for themselves.

Anonymous (not verified)

The importance of incorporating technology

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I think that we need to incorporate technology into all levels of education. If our true goal is to give our students tools and knowledge that they need to be productive citizens then technology is a must. It also makes learning real to them and fun. Students enjoy using a smart board whether to do a algebra problem or drawing a triangle. By using technology we can put students in real life situations and have them use resources to solve problems. In the old school it was memorize everything, which I do believe there are things that need to be memorize, but we also must teach our students how to use resources and find out information. As a teacher the resources are unlimited when you get on the world wide web. Someone would be crazy not to tap into the unlimited information on the web. Yes technology has change education, from the way we assess, to the way we report grades to parents, to the way instruction is give, and to the way students respond. It is all very exciting I think.

Anonymous (not verified)

Our school system actually

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Our school system actually has experienced this scenario. We had lots of benchmark data ( testing data collected 3 x a year) collected per grade and per subject area. The data then had to be crunched and analyzed to see the trends for all the AYP data kids and to gather data to report for NCLB to the federal govt. The classroom teacher did not have the time to complete. The tech. data person set up the grid for the on line data to be entered. The analysis report then had to be copied to the Director of Instrution in the School baord office and used for predicting success on the future tests on all grade levels. After the testing took place in the spring the analysis continued to see if the pre-incdicators were valid. The lead Teachers or Dept. heads in each school had too much to do with too little compesensation vs paid coaching positions. The school system had only one tech person to assist 4 schools covering over 2200 students.
Frustration set in and those core subject areas with a failing score were once again challenged to re-tool and redirect instruction to ensure success for all. As an educator it seems the emphasis is all on the teacher. Not enough emphasis is put on the middle or high school student or parents.
I think real analysis does not go far enough to aid teachers to help them re-tool & redirect their teaching habits.

Anonymous (not verified)

Question.....

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Referring to the comments made by Grant Wiggins:

If a school district were to implement a database system to track student performance, would the teacher be responsible for imputing all of the information or would the district have to hire additional staff? If additional personnel were required, would the benefit of such a system outweigh the cost?

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