In this digital age, educators have already begun to incorporate technology into their classrooms. Just this Thanksgiving, I learned that my hometown junior high school provides all its students with iPads to use in school and at home. But as educators integrate technology into their pedagogy, they should also consider integrating it into their assessment practices.
Technology should add value to current practices, not replace already valued strategies.
- Providing targeted and timely feedback
- Supporting peer and self-assessment
- Aggregating and storing results
- Helping to evaluate the impact of instruction
Assessments such as online quizzes, tests, and simulations promote independent learning and allow students to choose the timing and location of their assessments.
Multimedia assessments help deepen student understanding and allow for a wider range of skills to be demonstrated.
Personal response systems, i.e. clickers, provide students anonymity and accountability, provide immediate feedback, and allow teachers to analyze class needs on the spot. Immediate feedback can promptly correct misconceptions and allow students to make corrections accordingly. In my first undergraduate biology class of almost 300 students, clicker questions helped fuel student participation, kept me accountable for weekly readings, and allowed the teacher to quickly assess our grasp of the material.
Technology should add value to current practices, not replace already valued strategies. Therefore, educators should focus on assessment first and technology second. In other words, technological assessment practices should only be implemented if they align directly with pedagogy. It is also important to consider the technological literacy of students and to ensure that all students have equal access to technology. Proper scaffolding and technical training will allow students to pay more attention to the content and less attention to the technological tool.
Image credit: Alan Wolf. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.