Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Using Pencil/Paper Summative Assessments for Formative Assessment- A Google Approach.

If there is one thing that I have learned in my position it is this: teachers feel that summative assessment is important and that summative assessments in the form of tests are a regular practice of 7-12 teachers. In my role with our team one of the things that we continually work on is the teacher use of formative assessment with students. Just to illustrate this point we use videos and research from people like Rick Wormeli to emphasize that point.

What we miss sometimes is helping teachers make the link between summative assessments, like tests and formative assessments. To frame it a different way, how can a teacher use tests for formative purposes? The answer depends upon to what extent technology is leveraged in the process. For example if the test is online within a LMS like Brightspace with autograding and scoring within the LMS then the analytic data that comes with placing that test online is very simple. If the test is online in a Google Form then using the using an add on for Google Sheets called Flubaroo would allow for a more detailed item analysis of the test, an analysis that could be used to target problem areas for intervention before a retest or to identify areas for focus in final examination review. Conditional formatting in a Google Sheet can also allow for a more detailed analysis to be completed. However, what happens if the test is administered in pencil/paper format? What then? A possible solution is the focus of this blog post.

Teachers, when talking about the possibility of summative assessments and digital spaces, express validity and reliability concerns when implementing online testing. As a result they do not shift to testing online, depriving themselves of the opportunity to use summative tests for formative purposes without serious increases in workload. However there is a way to have the best of both worlds and it comes back to the use of Google Forms, Google Sheets with its toolset, and the Flubaroo add on. 

To start let's say that a teacher has a test that has ten selective response and four constructive response items. The first step would be to have the answers for the selective responses and the scores for the constructive responses entered into a spreadsheet via a Google Form. To do that, ten blank multiple choice items need to be created and four short answer questions need to be created in a Google Form. The images below show exactly what is needed to ensure the data is entered correctly.

With the Google Form created, the teacher then would need to provide the link to the Google Form to students to allow them to enter their results from their pencil/paper tests. This can be done within Google Classroom. a shortened url or even a QR code. 

The results from the Google Form land in the response area and the results also land in a Google Sheet. It is the Google Sheet that we need to be in because it is there we can do a detailed data or item analysis. To start the analysis we will look at some sample data as indicated in the image below.

I have 3 selective response items and 2 constructive response items added for demonstration purposes. 

In focusing on the selective responses and the data analysis we need to use an add on called Flubaroo. With Flubaroo all that needs to be done is to select the questions to be graded (we will skip the constructive response items), choose the answer key (so ensure you, as the teacher, have submitted the answer key in the Google Form) and Flubaroo does the rest. Below are the images that illustrates this process.

But what about the constructive response? This is where we can use the features of Google Sheets to complete the analysis. The images below the use of formulas and conditional formatting to achieve this task. 

This is but one way to use conditional formatting. Here is a different option using the second constructive response column.

With the use of Flubaroo and Google Sheets functionality, a teacher can conduct a detailed analysis of any summative assessment. With the ease of use that is inherent within Google Form creation and dissemination, the collection of data from a pencil/paper summative assessment like a test can be completed by any classroom teacher. So, after reading this blog, it should be clearer to the reader that the use of pencil and paper summative assessments should not be an impediment to their use for formative assessment purposes. Because as Rick Wormeli points out, kids can learn without summative assessment but cannot learn without formative assessment. We can have the best of both worlds, if we leverage technology to make it easier and more efficient.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

EquatIO - Why every math and science teacher should get it!

Well here I am trying to resurrect my blog. There was a time when I added to this regularly and then graduate studies, work and life in general seemed to get in the way. So with graduate studies all done (Master of Education - Information Technology) I have some time back and I'm carving off some time to be in here, to share my thoughts, readings, etc... So what to write about?

As some of you may be aware, I have been working with our Student Support Services team in the area of Assistive Technologies. When I first started I was showing teachers how to use the features of Apple's iOS to enable word prediction, text to speech and speech to text. And I still do show that when needed. However, given NLESD's move towards G-Suite for Education I have been showing teachers how TextHelp's Read and Write for Google is a great tool to use... and I may write about that later. However when looking at Twitter today I noticed a new addition to EquatIO that is quite cool so it's the subject of my blog resurrection. So... here goes...

So what exactly is Equatio? Essentially it's a math/science tool. In Google it allows for math/science type to be added to Google Slides, Docs, Forms, Sheets, etc... but that's the simple description. The pictures below explain it's functionality further.

EquatIO allows for math and science to be "typed" using voice, handwriting, and screenshots. From an assistive technology use it allows students to "speak" mathematics and to have mathematics spoken to them. That's huge! 

If you are interested in trying EquatIO, go to the link below to get the teacher premium version for free. I think any G-Suite for Education user will be very pleased with all its different features.

Free Read and Write/EquatIO for Teachers

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I'm not a fan of Apple... but Assistive tech

I have a colleague of mine that firmly believes I am anti-Apple. It may appear so but it's not really the case. It is true that I believe the devices can be restrictive... and it's true I believe that any hardware that makes content for learning should be accessible on more than just Apple products (It's too bad Steve Jobs never truly believed in the concept of universality via html5... but I digress) but boy did Apple ever get it right as it pertains to Assistive Technology.

I believe that we should learn how to use the tech we have REALLY well before purchasing more. So when I was looking for good speech to text and text to speech tools I eventually settled on the iPad with Siri enabled functionality. Why? Because kids owned them and schools had class sets of them. I did not need to encourage more purchasing.

So to enable speech to text on the iPad all one needs to do is to access the keyboard settings and enable dictation. In addition, adding a keyboard in another language, like French, easily enables speech to text in French. And it works well :) And I forgot predictive text...

The text to speech settings are easily enabled under the General settings under speech.  Here you can control things like reading speed, voice gender and reading portions or entire screens. It too works really well.

For students who need assistance with scribing or having text read to them, the iPad with these settings will reduce the need for another person to provision assistance... meaning we make the student much more independent.  As well the skill set we teach here for academic work transfers to social media and networking, something they may not have accessed previously.

The iPad is mobile,  meaning students with needs may not need pulling out during testing but rather could stay in the class with the rest of their classmates.  Sometimes,  being like everyone else is a good thing :)

So, although I think iBooks functionality should prevail completely across all devices,  I believe that the iPad is the device of choice for Assistive Technology needs for students. Now if we could only get a device to easily read math text and symbols properly... that would be something awesome indeed!