Mrs A's Blog

My Rambling Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

Use of IT in Assessment…

Last week I presented at the 2012 QSA Conference as part of a Panel Discussion.  The theme for the conference was Shaping teaching and learning: The assessment factor,  this topic allowed for many interesting discussions to occur about assessment and the purpose of teaching and learning.

In particular of intersted was the conversations surrounding High Stakes Testing (NAPLAN, QCST).  And the use of the data that comes from these exams.  I’m not sure what my thoughts of these types of assessment are.  I’m not even sure how I feel about Assessment in general but I do find it interesting that we still assess students by having them memorise a variety of things (facts, formats, ideas) and then regurgitate them in a 60 to 90 minute exam. Or even in a 2 or 3 hour exam.  Apart from education I can’t think of any other time in life where you have to memorise the answer.  I mean in most professions (and I’d love to hear from anyone where this is not the case) if you don’t know the answer you go and look it up.  Perhaps Assessment needs to be more like this.

The panel discussion which I was apart of was “Quality Assessment Pracitices using Information Technology (p-12)”.  This session had 4 educators (Ken Purnell, Peter Hay, Carole Hardy and myself) from both university and school settings.    The panel session look at the following three questions:

  • How are you currently using IT for Assessment in your setting?
  • What issues and/or unexpected outcomes have you encountered in introducing the use of IT in Assessment?
  • For someone intending to use IT for assessment what considerations would you recommend they make?

Each of the 4 educators used IT in very different ways… Would love to hear how you use IT in assessment…

Here is how I use IT in assessment…


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  1. Exams are a good way to see how much information the student has absorbed without the need to go and look it up, but I think way too much attention is focused on exams as assessment.

    Every day we are told to teach our students via collaboration. Sharing ideas, resources and knowledge to expand what they know about a particular topic. When we put them into exam conditions all we’re really testing is what knowledge they’ve absorbed. It’s not actually a test of what they know and are capable of doing if we take away the tools we’ve taught them to use.

    Then if we take the tools we taught them with and we taught them to learn with, is the exam really a valid form of assessment? Would it be seen as comparable against a take-home assignment where by the student is forbidden to use their text book or internet?

    The only profession I can think of at the moment where by a person wouldn’t have time to go and look up information or collaborate with colleagues before making a decision is in the medical industry where the nurse or doctor needs to make a split second decision about if the patient’s statistics aren’t correct and how much medication to give as a result.

    • MrsAngell

      Even in the medical industry if they don’t know they can look it up before they go into the surgury. And we always ask for a second opinion.

  2. This is actually something that I have been pondering.I had been working on a blog post for a while similar to this and you inspired me to finish it.

    I have a further question, how do you encourage teachers to use technology to assess students when some teachers struggle to embrace the IWB’s as not just a powerpoint device.

    • MrsAngell

      Sometimes Justin it really is about showing the teachers that students are capale on their own. As to the IWBs i run 30 minute training where we “Play” together and explore what the IWB can do. Once teachers see what great things are already freely available they tend to start to get the excitement as well…

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