TED and Me

Technology, Education, Design and Me.

Assessment Tools

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Setting up a quiz in Moodle was not too difficult, although it was tedious, time consuming and a little troublesome. It was troublesome because I found that the type of assessments I would initially create for the writing course I am designing in Moodle do not match the task requirements for the ETEC565 assignment. For example, I probably would not include matching questions in a writing course test, since I want to measure students’ progress with their writing abilities. Nor would I create one single quiz (as instructed by the course assignment) similar to the one that I did. Instead, I would create more formative assessments throughout the course (process writing) so students can see a progress in their writing. Regardless, this was an excellent learning exercise for me because it forced me to work through various assessment tools available in Moodle, often through trial and error (hence the tediousness and time complaint). I was also able to construct questions (MCQ and short answer) that could be useful for students to audit their understanding of the art of rhetoric in writing. But, then again, if I were to create these kinds of assessed tasks I may not use Moodle’s build-in tools; I would use third-party applications or services like HotPotatos, which offer more features.


Another valuable learning outcome that came from this activity was that I learned about assessments themselves –  a subject area that I feel rather lacking in knowledge. I’m ashamed that I did not know the differences among assessment types (i.e. formative and summative), and I have been unaware of the importance of feedback time, although not completely. Gibbs and Simpson’s article about how assessments supports students’ learning is both informative and persuasive for ensuring that assessments are designed in a course to create the best outcomes in learning (2004-05). For example, coursework assignments that are spread throughout the duration of a writing course “are a better predictor of long term learning content than are exams”, and they offer more opportunities for students to achieve higher marks (Gibbs and Simpson, 2004-05). This, of course, is dependant on the type of and timing of feedback given by teachers (Gibbs and Simson, 2004-05; Jenkins, 2004-05). Gibbs, G. and Simpson, C. (2005).  “Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning.” Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Accessed online 11 March 2009 http://www.open.ac.uk/fast/pdfs/Gibbs%20and%20Simpson%202004-05.pdf

Jenkins, M. (2004).  “Unfulfilled Promise: formative assessment using computer-aided assessment.” Learning and Teaching in Higher Education , i, 67-80. Accessed online 17 March 2009 http://www.glos.ac.uk/shareddata/dms/2B72C8E5BCD42A03907A9E170D68CE25.pdf.


As Gibbs and Simpson note, “frequent assignments and detailed (written) feedback are central to student learning”, but this may not always be possible, especially for an online distance course with an enrolment of over 100 students (2004-05). However, their 7 conditions do assist with designing assessments to ensure effective learning (2004-05). In my design of the quiz in Moodle, I considered the feedback the most important element of the assessed task. For example, for each answer, whether correct or incorrect, I created feedback comments that will appear once the quiz is finished to lead students to correct answer and links to any online resources that may assist with their learning. This works well for those students who are comfortable with independent learning techniques.

If I were to redesign my writing course in Moodle, I would use less (or no) summative assessments, focusing on frequent assignments that allow students to audit their progress. An example would be having students contribute to a wiki, writing about the various elements of the art of rhetoric or English styles of writing, and, on a weekly schedule, write a short blog entry based on a theme chosen at the beginning of the term; the blog entries would be assessed by both students’ peers and the teacher periodically throughout the course. If I were to have a summative assessment, it would be in the form of an ePortfolio, a reflection of their work progress. Small quizzes, and I mean short, could be inserted every two weeks to allow students to measure their understanding of rhetorical terms, but these would not be weighed heavily because the learning focus is their writing – not memorization of terms. Feedback, as noted by Jenkins, would be as immediate and frequent as possible, ensuring that students’ have adequate time to reflect, correct and pursue more knowledge on the subjects they are learning (2004-05).

Written by seanmcminn

May 5th, 2009 at 11:33 pm

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