As assessments have evolved from traditional pencil-and-paper exams to complex, digital assessment formats, the possibilities for new assessment techniques have expanded tremendously.
According to FutureEd’s 2019 report, “Online testing has spurred the creation of a new generation of technology-enabled performance tasks that ask students to draw, write, conduct lab experiments, and solve multi-step math problems, sometimes with simulations that would not otherwise be possible.”
We’ve taken a deep dive into the way online testing tools have transformed digital assessment techniques and taken them to the next level.
Due to their static nature, traditional testing techniques struggle to assess students’ ability to apply knowledge in real-world situations. It makes sense — written assessments can’t react to student inputs in real-time or evaluate multiple changing variables at once. This is a far cry from how students problem-solve in reality.
In the era of digital assessments, it’s much easier to integrate tools that simulate real-world scenarios for students to apply their knowledge to. These testing techniques can be especially helpful for science and mathematics assessments by giving real-world context to assessments.
- GeoGebra is a digital assessment tool that is pre-programmed with real-world math and science simulations, including circular and elliptical orbits, projectile motion, dice rolls and coin flips. These tools can easily be integrated into digital assessments to bring interactive, contextual elements to assessments.
- EcoMUVE is a fully immersive simulation tool that places students inside a virtual outdoor environment. Within two modules, pond and forest, students work in teams to diagnose environmental problems. To draw causal conclusions, students must investigate their environment and integrate knowledge across multiple disciplines.
- Geniventure from Concord Consortium applies real-world genetic concepts to a fictionalized world of dragons. In this game, students, “select alleles to control phenotypes, make predictions from genotypes, use meiosis to create gametes, and study inheritance by breeding baby drakes.” Educators then receive reports of student learning based on their activity.
These testing techniques and digital assessment tools can be leveraged to craft creative, contextual assessment techniques for students — and the benefits are not going without notice:
FuturedEd recognizes districts in Delaware for their,”… end-of-year, online assessments in grades 5, 8, and high school biology that go beyond multiple-choice and short-answer items to include technology- enabled performance tasks meant to capture the ways that students integrate, transfer, and apply science knowledge and skills learned throughout the year.”
Interactive, Personalized Testing Techniques
Across multiple disciplines, digital assessment tools present the opportunity to add helpful, interactive elements to testing techniques.
For language arts, tools like Read&Write from Texthelp help students interact with any piece of literature through flexible speech-to-text technology. This simple tool integrates across any device and content-type to support learners at all stages.
LightSail also provides an integrated assessment tool that works with how students already interact with text. Multiple-choice, written-response, and vocabulary-based assessments are integrated directly into the student’s text, facilitating comprehension and feedback in a natural format. LightSail then uses students’ performance to automatically update their available reading library, providing recommendations that match their progress.
During mathematics assessments, GeoGebra’s exam tool allows students to access a suite of online interactive calculator tools, while simultaneously disabling access to other internet sites. This allows students to model complex mathematical concepts during assessments — such as how a 3D shape sits on a 2D plane — without sacrificing academic integrity.
These digital assessment tools allow educators to create interactive, personalized testing experiences for their students.
By integrating tools with digital assessments, students are able to dive deeper into problems, explore real-world scenarios, and interact with assessments in a personalized way. For educators, these assessment techniques increase students’ engagement with subject matter, while providing advanced data about student performance and progress. Together, they pave the way to a more immersive educational experience and better outcomes for all.