Complete the exercise the “right way”…
Complete the exercise the “right way”…
This week on ocTEL we’re looking at assessment. As part of my thinking I refelcted on the use of quizzes in Moodle.
Designing Moodle quizzes is much more than just been able to use the quiz tool from a technical perspective. There is a real art to crafting questions so that they not only allow the learner to test their understanding, but also require a higher level of thinking.
If we look at the following multiple choice questions, the format of which is one of many different types available on Moodle, it provides the structure and the practitioner provides the question and the answers:
Which is these is a mammal?
This question does not test understanding, most students would be able to guess the answer or would not find it challenging. Within Bloom’s Taxonomy this is testing knowledge only, the bottom layer of the triangle.
In terms of feedback, you can design Moodle quizzes to provide feedback on questions. So you can explain why their answer is wrong or right and where to look for further information or support.
Onto a similar question:
What is the capital of Australia?
If we look at this question if you didn’t know the answer then you would need to do some research. However as with the previous question within Bloom’s Taxonomy this is testing knowledge only, the bottom layer of the triangle. It’s more challenging than the first question, but if you didn’t know it already then a quick Google search and you have the right answer.
So what about this question:
Which of these is the odd one out?
The “problem” with this question is that there is no single right answer. The answer needs an explanation, and it’s the explanation that demonstrates understanding of the question, not the answer.
If we look at Bloom’s Taxonomy it is possible with this question to go all the way to the top.
However Moodle will struggle with assessing a question with no “right” answer and certainly would not be able to assess the explanation.
You could provide generic feedback on why there is no “right” answer, but that may not be useful for all learners. Feedback needs to be personalised to be really effective. Students generally don’t appreciate generic feedback.
This doesn’t mean that Moodle quizzes aren’t an useful tool for checking learning, but its limitations in assessing higher order thinking needs to be considered when designing assessment.
Submitting assignments online through the VLE is a great way for learners to ensure a) that the work submitted is logged, b) it’s unlikely to be lost, c) they can, once graded, refer to the grade and feedback when they want to.
The problem with submitting assignments through the VLE is when the assignment asks for the students to submit a physical thing as their assessed piece of work.
If a learner creates a sculpture for example, or makes a lasagna, welds copper tubing, these things can not be submitted electronically. Submitting a photograph is of course possible, but why? It’s an extra step that isn’t strictly necessary.
Many learners will often do a presentation for an assessment, others will do a live performance or demonstrate a technique. Now yes you could video these “performances”, but video files can be quite big and you not want to upload these to the VLE (especially if you use tape over an SD card).
However it is still useful to grade these offline activities on the VLE to inform the learners how they did and provide feedback. Of course generally that is done anyway, so why put it on the VLE?
One reason is consistency, if other (written) assignments are been uploaded to the VLE then a learner will probably want to at some point know the grades for all their assessed work regardless whether it was a written essay or a live presentation.
Another reason is that one of the key factors that aids retention is ensuring learners know in terms of their assessment what they have done, what they are doing and what they need to do. If they can find all this information in one place rather than using different systems for different assignments using differing forms of assessment then it will make life better for the learner. If feedback and grading on written work is on the VLE, it makes sense then to use the VLE for all assessment whether it be written or another activity.
Having posted Steve’s presentation on assessment earlier, I was reminded that I had delivered some training on assessment and diverse forms of assessment a few months back.
This was the presentation I gave at the training.
The key message I wanted to get across to the participants was that just because they had assessed the way they had always done, this didn’t mean that was the only way they could assess learners. Often we assess the way that we do, we do it because we have always done it that way. There are now new tools and technologies that allow us to enhance and enrich assessment. and make it more engaging and effective for learners.
Sometimes we need to think differently, especially if the current methods of assessment are not doing what we need them to do.
An interesting presentation from a keynote by that Steve Wheeler, Assessment in the Digital Age:Fair Measures?
Assessment, which in FE is heavily dictated to by the exam boards is always challenging to change to make “fit for purpose” and I do wonder if we assess because we need to assess rather than actually use it for something useful?