That assessment is great for learning and is never in doubt. Assessments are part of the learning process for students. Every error committed in an assessment can lead the student to new knowledge or to an increased understanding of the subject. Hence the need to see assessments as “tools” that aid learning. For teachers, assessments serve a double purpose. Not only do they give valuable insight into the students’ understanding of a concept, but they also give them precious feedback on their own teaching methodologies and content.
With Covid 19 bringing traditional classroom teaching to an abrupt halt, the spotlight has turned on the virtual classroom, which an advanced school erp can easily set up. Most teachers have risen to the occasion and adapted methodologies and material to the new learning ecosystem. With e-learning comes e-assessment. And e-assessment brings to the table a plethora of apps, tools, strategies and techniques.
online assessment, if done correctly and in sync with well-conceived e-learning activities, can be a terrific tool to enhance learning outcomes. Here is what it can bring to the table:
A) An exciting “hi-tech” tool for a tech-savvy generation: Gen-Z is used to fishing out a mobile or tab for every task that can be done digitally. They are likely to take to digital assessments like a duck to water. In fact, their level of comfort with the soft version of assessments may be so high that they may themselves seek out assessments and become better learners in the process.
B) Fun, creative and interactive: The teacher can be exceptionally creative with online assessment tests. Traditional assessments and tests cause anxiety. E-assessments, on the other hand, could range from interactive online quizzes to multiple choice questions to descriptive exams and more. Students could also be given more creative choices – such as synthesizing a concept or lesson with the aid of online tools. Good e-learning software for higher education would provide tools to create simple infographics and visualizations. These can then be posted online, creating some more authentic learning material!
C) Anytime, anywhere: Assessments that can be taken anytime, anywhere – this is one of the most significant advantages of e-assessments! The stress of commuting to distant examination centers, of writing lengthy papers in unknown classrooms can be done away with. Teachers can impose a time constraint and remote invigilation is a possibility, but answering an assessment from the comfort of one’s home can reduce student (and teacher/administrator) stress considerably.
D) Quick marking and results: Many interactive quizzes and objective MCQ type assessments are auto-marked. Results are available immediately. Moreover, the marking here is totally reliable and secure. There is no room for human error, as would happen with a tired teacher who may miss counting a mark or make an incorrect calculation. Even descriptive, subjective assessments can be marked rapidly, with excellent tools for proof-reading and for giving helpful feedback to students.
E) Easily scalable: 20 students… or 200 - the reach of an LMS (Learning Management System) is vast and scalable. Students of an individual class or all sections of a class or all classes of a Multi Academy Campus spread out over multiple locations can take the same assessment, at the same time, while ensuring total integrity of the assessment. Physical examinations cannot guarantee exam integrity, as is evident in frequent reports on paper leakages.
F) Encourages collaboration: Sharing question banks and lesson plans comes easy with e-learning. Communication tools in e-learning modules provide e-mail and SMS access. Collaborative creation of question banks can be an enriching experience for teachers. Students would also benefit since the assessments that are thus co-authored and reviewed by a team of educators would be substantially better and error-free.
G) Cost-effective: An integral part of all superior e-learning software, e-assessments are cost-effective since they save on paper, stationary, invigilation, logistics, couriering of examination papers, security, fees of examiners who mark papers, administrative staff which collates results and announces them, etc.
H) Easily accessible for all candidates: Digital assessments have helped immensely in leveling the playing field for all candidates. Candidates who may be geographically handicapped can take the assessment without being inconvenienced or feeling discriminated against in any way. Students with physical disabilities can also benefit, since their physical presence is not required. For students who suffer from a physical disability of the hand, tools such as “voice to text converter” could be a practical solution. More online assessment tools exist as solutions to other handicaps, making the assessment process fair, equitable and, most importantly, humane.
The importance of assessment, whether online or traditional, cannot be denied. Online assessments, which are easier to store and access at a later date, are valuable data for improving on the teaching-learning experience. If correctly analyzed, they furnish precious insights and on the effectiveness of certain teaching methodologies, on the relevance of the curriculum, on the performance of the school, eventually on the academic ecosystem.
What can teachers do to improve learning outcomes? Are students learning enough of what matters to emerge winners when they exit school? Is the education we are dispensing making students life-ready? Assessments furnish intelligent answers to these crucial questions. A good online skills assessment test offers teachers plenty of scope to adjust, correct and enhance their methods of teaching. It also provides guidelines to further improve upon the assessment itself and make it a useful tool for feedback and learning.
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