Can a laptop help me with assessment tasks?

Monday, March 2nd, 2009 | laptops

We all know that assessment is a vital part of the learning process.  But, with the extra admin it creates, many teachers avoid it as much as possible.

A laptop has the potential to take the sting out of assessment – think about some of the ways in which this device can make your life easier.

Assessment tasks, such as test papers, project outlines and examination papers – with their memorandums – can be typed using the word processor on your laptop.  The documents can be saved for future use – just imagine how much time you will save next year.

Through email, or transfer of data on a memory stick, additional material may be obtained from your colleagues and you can reciprocate by sharing some of your material with them – this means less work for all.

Ideas for questions and assessment tasks can be obtained from the internet.

A spreadsheet can be used to maintain class lists and to record assessment scores.  As you enter assessment grades, calculations are done automatically – you can now put the calculator aside.  Even percentages can be calculated; averages, means, medians or any other statistical information is available to you at the press of a button.  Adjustments are made without sweat.  When you change one figure, totals are recalculated.  If you want to adjust the marks of all learners by ten percent, you only have to give one instruction.

You can send assessment summaries and results to the principal or your colleagues and eliminate paperwork.

A laptop can also be used in a more direct way for assessment – education software programmes specially designed to help you with assessment are available.  They contain question banks and allow you to change questions, or even add your own.  Even if the learners in your class do not have access to computers, you can still use these programmes to generate test papers.  But if there are computers available for learner use, some of these programmes allow you to create on-line tests for your class.  The beauty of these programmes is that, if the learner does the test on the computer, you can let the computer mark the test for you!  You will do well to investigate some of these programmes.

Once you start using your laptop you’ll discover its power as an assessment tool. It will become your best friend, even if you use it for nothing other than assessment.

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7 Comments to Can a laptop help me with assessment tasks?

Mike Summers
Monday, 2 March, 2009

These are the sort of practical, hands-on, easy to understand uses for technology that are so important for meaningful technology integration. N, this is not a “transformative” process but technology as an efficacy aid is ok if it is the first step towards meaningful use.

Mike Summers
Monday, 2 March, 2009

Meant to type, “No, this is not….”

Again, thanks for sharing.

Monty Paul
Monday, 2 March, 2009

There are a host of ways of looking at assessment, including self-assessment.
The ability to edit quickly and easily ultimately encourages a more proactive approach to self assessment in terms of being creative and experimenting so as to produce the best possible work we can.

Online quizes / tests / surveys are also useful. However, multiple choice type tests tend to be limited and most are not particularly good at providing the kind of feedback which facilitates learning.

The comment feature on word processors is useful when it comes to using peer assessment. I have been using blogs as reflective journals with my students for the past two years. The comment feature of these tools is very useful for formative assessment, be them from me or peers.

Monday, 2 March, 2009

Thanks for your comments, Mike and Monty. I particularly appreciate the thought that blogs can be used for formative assessment. It may take a while for teachers to progress to this point, but it surely is a wothwhile goal!

Albie 1 cent
Monday, 2 March, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009, 10:32 PM
The 14″ laptop replaced my A4 LEVER ARCH FOLDERS on SEVEN LEVELS of Pinewood Shelves 3 x 4 meters in size e.g. “Class Record Books” and a host of other record and admin documentation folders of << 1980 !!!

No more BIC red, green, blue or black pens TO COMPLETE AND FILL IN DATA WITH MY LEFTHAND, but just software programs with wonderful tools to keep my assessment on a piece of hardware the size of a SA 2005 – 1 cent coin !!

Thus, ASSESSMENT is still done but MUCH EASIER on an electronic device a laptop with e.g. the very easy format, well-designed layout, ample space “inside” a circuit motherboard, enormous time factor saver, absolute accuracy, cut-copy-paste without a metal pair of blades called a pair of scissors, predesigned calculations with mathematical formulas that I don’t have to remember, and…..and…. no paper or oversized A4 Lever Arch Folders !! Just an easy sling over my shoulder !!

ALBIE from the old R2 coin to a 1 cent coin

Gerald Roos
Thursday, 12 March, 2009

I like the perspective that Monty brings to this. The laptop (or any technology) is essentially just a resource that has its limitations as well. It is an easy trap to think that technology can make assessment easier. It makes the administration of assessment easier at times, but assessment is much more than just a series of tests and quizzes. Technology can certainly facilitate a wide range of assessment methods and be used to develop assessment tools and process the data. The effectiveness of assessment remains with the teacher.

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