Teaching and assessing students remotely has been a cause of concern during the last two years. The Covid-19 pandemic has hastened digitalization in education, even when schools and teachers were not ready. Various AI-based companies stepped up to provide platforms to help educational institutions overcome the challenges of assessing students online. The blog talks about ways on how to assess students in the new normal.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hugely impacted the educational system around the world. Teachers were asked to teach using video meeting apps. Students were expected to attend the classes from their homes. Electronic devices have become a part of education since lockdown.
However, things weren’t smooth or easy. Teachers, parents, and students struggled to get used to the new teaching method. The situation was much harder in developing and undeveloped countries where the internet and technology were not accessible in remote and poor regions. Lack of proper training was yet another issue. Assessment of students during covid-19 has also been a cause of concern.
Conducting surprise tests or organizing quizzes needed more work. Various factors had to be considered before selecting an assessment method. Some educational institutions follow a mixed approach, while others rely only on technology. Despite the hurdles, many educators successfully eased into online learning and assessment.
That’s because several AI-based companies have provided the necessary apps and platforms to help with online teaching and assessments. Whether online quizzes or question generator platforms, these tools have given educational professionals an easy way to streamline their work and assess students without bias.
Challenges Teachers face in Testing and Evaluating the Students During the Pandemic
It’s never easy to abruptly adjust to a new method of teaching and evaluation. The same has happened during the pandemic. Teachers faced various challenges in testing and assessing students through remote and online classes.
Lack of Proper Final Assessment
For a long time, the final exams were conducted to assess how the students have learned well through the academic year and whether they can move on to the higher class or not. With the final exams being canceled, many students were promoted based on their performance in the monthly assessments. But even the monthly tests were conducted online during the pandemic. So how well did the students actually learn?
Lack of Infrastructure
Not all students had access to smartphones. Such students were taught through television lessons or sharing of material. Assessing students with little or no access to electronic devices is even harder, as they cannot attend the tests the way students with resources can.
Dishonesty and Cheating
Academic dishonesty is something all educational institutions should consider when conducting online tests. Many teachers ask students to write their exams with the camera turned on throughout the duration. It can get exhausting for teachers to supervise students from the limited view offered by the camera.
Low Personal Interaction
Online teaching restricts interaction between all parties. Teachers cannot personally interact with every student, and the students cannot work with each other in person. Everything happens through the internet, thus limiting the teacher’s access to how the students perform in groups.
No Practical/ Lab Sessions
Subjects like physics, chemistry, biology, computers, etc., have practical classes where students learn hands-on about various topics. Online learning has put a break on lab science classes, thereby creating a hurdle in assessing students’ practical knowledge. With so many challenges to overcome, how can we assess students in virtual learning environments and still be fair to students and teachers? How can teachers conduct assessments online while overcoming the challenges? Thankfully technology is here to help.
How Do You Conduct a Virtual Assessment?
Educational institutions and teachers came up with different answers to the question, ‘how to evaluate students during covid-19?’ Many educators and teachers relied on online platforms to include assessments as a part of digital education.
Quizzes have been a part of educational assessments for decades. Technology has made it easier to conduct quizzes through remote learning. Quizzes generally comprise questions that require short answers. Multiple choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, true or false statements, etc., are common in quizzes.
Online quizzes like Quizlet and Mentimeter offer the same facilities. Teachers can conduct a quiz test in bulk and get the results automatically. The teacher sends a link to each student. The students answer the paper and submit it online through the same link. The app will process the paper and share the results with the teacher. Teachers can compare the students’ performance and identify the areas where they went wrong. It’s simple and fun.
Online Games and Activities
Gamification is fast becoming a part of digital learning. It makes assessment easier by providing teachers with different solutions to conduct online games and activities for students. Apps like Kahoot, Plickers, etc., simplify the process of organizing an online game for students. This makes the session fun for both teachers and students.
Open-ended questions are a great choice to assess complex topics and students in higher classes. Students can type their answers into the provided interference or write them on paper and scan the copies to submit. Some educational institutions use both methods. This helps students with limited access to a computer. Taking a picture of the written paper and sending it to the teacher is convenient for students from remote areas. Either way, educators have found a way to conduct exams in the long format despite remote learning.
Online Role Play and Dialogue Simulations
How do you assess students in remote learning, especially for soft skills and personality development? Apps like iSpring TalkMaster allow teachers to design characters and assign dialogues for each. Students are asked to take up characters and play their part online. Students can also dress up for the role and perform in front of the camera, as the teacher watches and makes notes.
One-to-One Online Viva
There’s no denying that this method of assessment is time-consuming. However, it is the best way to understand the abilities of each student and pay equal attention to all of them. Various apps are available to set up one-to-one interviews with students. Zoom is a perfect example. The same can be done for group assessments where students are assessed together.
Online Forum Discussions
A forum is a discussion group where people discuss and debate a topic by sharing their opinions. Educational institutions can create online forums exclusively for their establishment and segregate the rooms based on classes and topics.
The teachers act as moderators and facilitators to ensure that students maintain discipline when debating and share their inputs respectfully. Teachers can use the data collected in forums to provide constructive feedback to the students and help them correct their mistakes. ActiveBoard is a well-known third-party platform that allows educators to create online message boards.
Effective Ways to Assess Students Online
The following are some popular online assessment tools used by educational establishments.
PrepAI is an AI question generation platform developed by DataToBiz. It helps teachers create a test paper in less time by using natural language processing to read the input text and automatically convert it into a set of questions.
Teachers don’t have to manually go through a huge body of text, formulate questions, and type them to send to the students. PrepAI does everything on the teacher’s behalf. That said, it gives the teacher complete control over which questions to keep and delete. They can edit and add more questions.
In fact, teachers can determine the type of questions and the complexity level of the test with just a couple of clicks. Once the teacher is satisfied with the assessment paper, they can save and export it in multiple output formats. PrepAI saves time, effort, and resources. It removes bias and minimizes errors in conducting assessments. It is available for free and paid subscriptions.
Kahoot is a free online platform that allows teachers to create fun games and activities for students to participate in and test their knowledge. The interface is flexible, interactive, and engaging. It takes just a few minutes to create quizzes and games in any language. The event can be hosted live by the teacher so that students can participate in real-time and compete with each other.
Socrative offers free and paid assessment tools to educational institutions and students. The app helps teachers create assessments on the go and provide immediate feedback to students. Quizzes, MCQs, fillups, descriptive questions, etc., can be created in a few minutes and shared with the students. The questions can be edited as well. The Socrative library helps teachers access the previous assessment questions and reports. The reports can be downloaded or saved for later. The test papers are graded immediately to provide instant feedback to students without putting additional strain on the teacher.
Ways to Provide Online Feedback to Students
If assessing students in the new normal is one aspect, providing feedback is another. After all, what is the use of assessments if educators can’t help their students improve their knowledge and skills?
So how do teachers give feedback to students during virtual learning and assessments?
Some online quizzes allow students to check the answers after submitting theirs. This helps them directly see where they went wrong and note the correct answer. Students will have more awareness of their knowledge when they personally see the test results. Self-assessments also reduce the load on teachers to correct the test papers. However, they can still discuss the results with the students.
Audio/ Video Feedback
Written feedback has its limitations as students might misinterpret the tone, or the teacher may not convey it properly. Getting the tone right can be exhausting and still leave enough chance for misinterpretation. Students are used to teachers speaking in the classroom. They focus on the voice and body language to understand the meaning.
That’s why sending audio and video feedback is an effective way to convey the exact meaning to the students. It also helps students save the recordings and listen to them multiple times. Such feedback feels more personal than text and better impacts the students.
Peer Reviews and Feedback
Teachers can involve other students in the feedback process, even during online assessments. Platforms like TurnItIn’s Feedback Studio allow students to read, review, and assess the papers submitted by their classmates. Educators can set up the guidelines for reviewing and monitoring the feedback before it is sent to the student. The students get an insight into how evaluation works and provide the teacher with deeper insights into the students’ minds.
The aim is to facilitate constructive feedback so that students learn from their mistakes without feeling demotivated or confused.
Given how new variants of the coronavirus are still active around the world, we can assume that online learning and assessments are the new normal in the educational system. Schools, colleges, and educators need to adopt the latest technology and use the platforms provided by EdTech companies to deliver quality education to students.
Various educational institutions are actively using PrepAI to generate questions online using natural language processing along with other strategies to make distance learning effective. The platform plays a major role in defining student assessment in the new normal.