Assessment Technology

Technology, despite only just recently being implemented into the classroom has come a long way in both educational settings and beyond. Now about 75% of homes have internet use at home while 79% of people have computers and devices in their homes such as tablets, iPads, cellphones, gaming consoles, etc,.

The use of technology in the classroom is very important because it makes things easier and simpler in a world that is consistently chaotic. Assignments, lectures, notes, assessments, tests, quizzes, etc., can all be done online. Assignments can also, dependent upon how they are done and with what, be graded online. Most of the student body is already so used to a median of technology use and older variations of educational teaching. However, as with everything, things can change and the use of technology in school may be one of those ways that things change.

Assessments have always been done with paper and pencil, only recently have we started to use scantron to go through grading these assessments faster. Each year students and staff go through hours of grueling work to take, print, and assemble these booklets for assessments all around the US. This very idea of assessment taking should be something of the past. We now have the technology to be able to take these assessments online and submit it online while still being able to use technology to grade it as well as individual people for those pesky written portions.

Some people are concerned with students who may cheat on assignments and it’s understandable that people are usually concerned about it. Cheating on these types of tests may in some people’s eyes be easier to do from student to student or on the internet if given the chance. However, many of us take tests faster or slower; read faster or slower, and in all reality it’s close to impossible to cheat off of the internet. These test questions and answers are changed every year; there is no way we will be able to successfully cheat off of the internet with these types of tests.

The whole paper and pen thing gets extremely boring and can make people anxious and nervous; this can alter how their test turns out and what the overall outcome is to be. From experience these tests are taken in painfully quiet rooms, students about 2-3 feet away from each other, using an archaic way of test taking just to ensure that it’s their own work and so that students have the capability of taking these tests without interruption isn’t working. We don’t cheat but the amount of anxiety that we get hours before the testing is painful. Hours less sleep worrying about it and remembering the eerie silence that lay just hours before us. The scowls to come if we cough or shift in a really squeaky chair are close to unbearable while taking an assessment like that. We should be comfortable while taking the assessment and with us being relaxed I know that many students test scores would be far better than what they have been the last few years.

Imagine, taking a test in a large cafeteria or auditorium on a laptop given to you by the state just to take a test. They give you the laptop and a pair of headphones that are in a sense made so that you can’t hear anything around you and if others choose not to take the headphones they can’t hear what you’re listening to, just to take a test. Imagine, before you take the test there is an option for background noise so that it’s not painfully quiet or they can give you an option to listen to your own music while you take the test.

The future of assessment taking can be found in technology and the future for schooling involves that technology we were wary of using ten years ago.



Differentiating Instruction through Technology

A student-centered technology in the classroom can be a difficult learning base when students are so used to the teacher being in control. It can also be difficult when the students are also not used to being active participants in their own education. This type of new structure however is severely important to be taught and used throughout middle and high school classrooms because it gives the student more of an opportunity to become involved with their education and gives them more of an opportunity to learn and teach others as well. Although schools all over the US are starting on this method of teaching and learning we as a nation still have a long ways to go before it is the new norm of education and some tools to get there may be a little unorthodox at first. Despite technology being very prominent in lessons and education many students who have a slower learning curve are left behind and many others whom have a faster learning curve are slowed down. It seems terrible any way one might say it however it’s the hard truth and there should be other structures that assist students in either spectrum or even in between.

             Differentiating IQ Tests and Sub Grade levels: Despite so many tools out there, there are some that I find may be more effective than most. One being that everyone matures and learns differently, everyone also retains and processes information differently so instead of keeping children assigned to a grade at a certain age we can assign students to appropriate grade levels based on IQ and learning/processing speeds. Each set grade will have different “levels” of that particular grade. So how in high school there is a Basic English class, an honors English class, and an AP English class there will be something along the lines of that for every grade starting in middle school. At the beginning of every school year students will be tested to see which classes they should be placed in every year based on their learning curve and IQ. To some it may seem unfair but in all honesty it gives students that need one on one learning the opportunity for just that and students that don’t require one on one more of an opportunity to do things for themselves.

             Different Standardized Testing: Every few years or so our youth is forced to take a state or nationwide standardized test that in a sense tells a student if they are good enough at a certain subject or not and later determines the school that they may or may not get into. I understand that it is a way to see where a student is and what extra help that they may need. However, what this test doesn’t realize or understand is that some students can test better orally rather than being tested in a written format. Some students may have difficulty sitting still and being tested for 2-3 hours in complete silence. It’s difficult to concentrate and relax thus making it more difficult to do things correctly in the test. I, personally, have always tested better in increments and in short periods of time rather than having 50 pages of questions and math problems that should be done within 3 straight hours. There should be different and simpler ways to perform the standardized test because the current youth is slipping into a rut that should have been filled a long time ago. Each year the minimum for these tests go up and students and teachers alike must meet the end of the year quota. Yet each year the scores go down for these tests. “There was no surprise when the new definition of “proficiency” was about 30 points below the old one” (Strauss 2013).

             Monthly Tests: In most classes there are pop quizzes, tests, vocabulary, etc., that test how students are progressing in these particular subjects. A lot of the time this requires remembering and recalling when and what you learned at any given time. In many cases we all forget and this could cost us our grade. A new way of testing in class about any subject is reminding us of what lesson it was we learned something on. Allowing notes is one thing but using computers or tablets to remind us could be a new way of doing things. For example, throughout each month with each lesson the teacher or instructor could make a podcast or video of the lesson as it is being done. When it comes time to take the test the teacher will put clips and bits of these videos linked to certain questions to trigger the student’s memory so that essentially the student will test better and remember what it is they learned without having to relearn it. It’s a theory in memory loss patients that if clips or bits of their life are shown to them it may trigger memories and restore those memories as well. This also may essentially help students remember for longer periods of time and retain the information.

There are pros and cons to everything that we do, it’s just a matter of figuring out what should or shouldn’t be done and figuring out what will and won’t work with each student. It’s also a matter of figuring out if there is a way to erase those cons that would otherwise be in our way of progressing student learning. Technology is the future, it’s easier to use and easy to integrate into student learning already. At this moment in time technology is farther along than it was 10 years ago and at this rate technology will soon be the norm for many schools around the globe. The only con that I can think of with this new found way of using technology in the classroom would be that we become so consumed by it that we forget that there are other ways to do things and we forget what it’s like to do things ourselves.

All in all it’s difficult to integrate anything new to something that has been done a certain way for so long. However, a lot of the time it’s better to have some kind of change than it is for something to remain the same for so long. This is the future; it’s scary and coming at us fast but it is how things will soon be for the entire world. Change as they say “Is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” (John F. Kennedy).