Assessments are a critical part of education. Students can see their progress and identify areas of strengths or weaknesses. For educators, it provides a tool to gauge the effectiveness of the learning material. They will also know whether the content meets the learning objectives.
In the modern world, educators must cater to both online and offline students. Yet, the basic functionalities remain the same, no matter the platform. That means learning and assessments must continue throughout the coursework.
Our article will look at the different tools online educators can use. The beauty is that they are plentiful. Educators must take time to look at their learning objectives. Understanding the students and their needs is also critical. With such insights, it becomes easy to choose the best assessment method.
There are two basic types of online assessments.
Formative assessments occur within the course work. It provides an opportunity to see how well a student is learning the set curriculum. Educators can change the material, depending on the results of the assessment. Students can identify areas of weakness and take corrective action. Teachers need to be consistent while providing valuable feedback to students.
Summative assessments are what you will find in final examinations. Students take them after completing the coursework. Educators can measure the efficacy of the learning material against the coursework.
There is the option of both formal or informal processes. Formal assessments are more systematic in their approach. The results will contribute to the final grade.
Informal assessments provide more leeway. The educator will use them to gauge comprehension levels. They may or may not involve assigning grades. Students can use such to practice before sitting down for the final exam.
1. Task-Based Simulations
Task-based simulations test experiential and practical knowledge. Educators must use realistic simulations that best represent the real world. Assessment tools should have relevant images, audio, and even immersive experiences.
Let us use the example of a customer care student. The educator can create a character of a difficult customer. He then gets to see how the student manages the situation and can provide advice as needed.
2. Online Quizzes
Online quizzes are easy to put in place and use. Educators have different options like fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice questions. It becomes easy to see how much of the learning material the student has understood. The online quizzes are also excellent for assessing a large number of students.
Take a look at this cosmetology state board practice test format as an example. It uses short, to the point multiple-choice questions. Learners have only four options to consider, reducing the complexity of the process. Results are instantaneous, allowing the student to focus on the areas they got wrong.
It is important to have a baseline for measuring how well the student is doing. That is why some educators will use ungraded online quizzes at the beginning of the lessons. They can then compare the results during and after the coursework. This makes online quizzes ideal for both formative and summative assessments.
3. Open-Ended or Essay Questions
Open-ended questions are the opposite of online quizzes. The educator allows learners to express themselves in a little more detail. It allows for a better assessment of comprehension and higher-level thinking. Take the example of creative arts subjects. Students can share their thoughts with such formats.
A grading criterion is critical, as the educator draws inferences from the answers. The feedback is also ideal for qualitative data. If the aim is for quantitative data, the assessor will not get the right results with this type of test.
4. Peer to Peer or Collaboration Assessment
Peer assessment utilizes feedback from other students. Educators can use discussion boards or video conferencing facilities like Zoom or Skype. Learners give their opinion on each other’s work in a real-time situation. Students can, for example, critique science projects in such assessments.
The assessor needs to emphasize the need for positive or constructive criticism. He must also pay close attention to what the learners are saying. The answers both spoken and unspoken can provide tons of insights. An inability to articulate, for example, may show a lack of understanding of the learning material.
Some educators will prefer to use anonymous feedback for more honest feedback. A few students may not be comfortable expressing themselves in front of others. Yet, they would be willing to talk as long as the educator assures confidentiality.
Peer evaluations also involve allowing students to evaluate each other’s written work. They use prescribed assessment questions or rubrics to provide feedback. Such act as a guideline to make it easier for the participants to give feedback. The educator will also have an easier time analyzing the results.
5. Case Studies or Game-Based Activities to Solve Problems
When using case studies, the educator provides real-world examples. They then give the learners enough time to explore possible solutions. It is an effective method for assessing team collaboration. Take the example of geography lessons where students need to identify places. This needs practical solutions for better retention.
The learners have to brainstorm to come up with solutions. They must also provide a comprehensive method to their approach. The focus is not on the solution rather the thought process.
Educators can also use game-type activities as an assessment method. It removes the seriousness from the whole process because it brings in the fun element.
A good example would be jigsaw projects. Such games need collaboration or teamwork to complete. Every student gets a different responsibility. They then put the different ‘pieces’ together to get the final result.
Such games can provide fantastic insights into knowledge and skill levels. Students also learn to use non-cognitive skills like risk-taking, problem-solving, and collaboration.
Another fantastic method is drag-and-drop assessments. It incorporates the use of texts and images to layout problems. Students must then show their comprehension or problem-solving abilities. It can happen through linking information or knowledge application to solve practical problems.
Such assessments work well for real-life situations. Let’s take the example of training on skincare routine. You can ask them to name the different stages in the process.
But, you can create a more lasting impression with a drag and drop scenario. You then ask them to place the different steps in the right place based on the scenario you have created.
6. Independent Project Assessments
Independent project assessments are of many types. Take the example of subjects that include research, creative activities, or problem-solving. An educator can pick a topic about something that is going on in the world. All students then come up with creative solutions, while referencing the learning material.
With such assessments, the learning opportunities are plentiful. It can happen on an individual or team basis. The educator must develop a clear structure. He must also give enough time for research, collecting, and collating information.
It is also important for the teacher to be available for regular check-ins and update sessions with the students.
7. Online Interview and Dialogue Simulations
The advantage of online interviews is that it brings in a personal touch to assessments. Teachers can look out for things like skills in language and coursework material. Further, it provides mentorship opportunities and immediate feedback.
Educators can do individual or group-based interviews. The latter offers an opportunity for peers to give input on different topics.
Dialogue simulations allow students to see how real-life conversation-based activities go. Such is crucial for customer care, sales, receptionist, or any customer-facing job. Educators must develop scripts or scenarios the learners are likely to face.
Let’s say the job is a customer care position in a hospital. How would the student handle a grieving family member? What kind of questions would they ask? What kind of platitude would they offer, and so on?
Evaluators can also use forum posts or online discussion boards. Students contribute to specific topics or areas of interest. The assessor gets information on interest levels or understanding.
They also get to know which areas the learners may need support in. Students must apply critical thinking to come up with responses. The answers then go to the board for an open peer or forum-based discussion.
8. Conduct Online Polls
Educators can get a lot of feedback by conducting online polls. Learners can give feedback on what they think about the coursework. They can also be open about the learning experience and satisfaction levels.
Online polls are excellent for increasing engagement. Students get an opportunity to express themselves and have someone listen to them. Such assessments are applicable in any field.
Self-assessment gives students a chance to share their learning needs or abilities. The educators get feedback on all fields applicable to the students.
The assessor can use a questionnaire or online surveys to start. Self-assessment rubrics is also a fantastic tool. Students grade themselves within the range of 1 to 4 on simple criteria. The students can show whether they need help or not. They can also be honest about what content they understand or not. Learners can also offer to teach others by indicating the same on the rubric.
We have looked at nine online assessment methods above. Educators need to understand their objectives for carrying out such. They must then choose the best method to achieve the right results.
The insights will provide an opportunity for improvement for both parties. Students get to know their weaknesses and strengths. They can then ask for relevant help that addresses their specific needs.
Educators get to know how good their content is, and what needs to change.