Online tools play a significant role in effective assessment of learning. Many schools in the USA, UK and Europe have recorded rich experience through the use of digital tools for learning and assessment of learning. They use different types of digital tools to engage their students, build rapport, and develop skills etc. These tools include vodcasts, radio, games, multimedia, film making and animations to improve oral expression; blogs, discussion boards and script writing to develop written skills. Other tools include virtual classrooms, social networking softwares, email, internet and video conferencing to build learning networks, and explore other learning opportunities.
To foster creativity and critical thinking, the use of games, podcasts and radio are used. In addition, digital portfolios , databases and Claymation help in organising information and conceptualizing understanding.
In the developed world, teachers use digital learning platform to match activities, groups and outcomes against curriculum and/or assessment rubrics, and to identify gaps.
A data handling program which contains all the learning objectives and whether
the students have achieved them or are working towards them. When a teacher ‘wants to undertake an activity at any particular point in time, he or she will be able to know the students who will be the most appropriate to work with at that level?
The students also get involved in planning and setting their own learning and assessment goals.
3.0. Examples of virtual learning assessments include the following:
3.1 English Online P-2
This is used in the UK for children in Prep to Year 2 to assess the Victorian
Essential Learning Standards (VELS) for English (reading, writing, speaking
and listening). It also provides information to teachers about the student’s individual learning needs as well as state-wide data about their achievement in English.
3.2 The Fractions and Decimals Online 5-8
This assessment tool assists teachers in assessing the Year 5-10 student’s
mathematical and high-achievers in Year 4 in terms of fractions, decimals, ratios and percentages.
It can also help establish the students’ prior knowledge and determine their progress over time.
3.3. Maths Online P-2
This is used to assess mathematical understanding for students in Prep-Year 4 and students at-risk in Year 5. This assessment is in terms of numbers, space and measurement. The assessment contains multiple entry points, analyses student responses and can generate a range of profiles of
student understanding organised around the points of growth.
Examples of E-assessment tools
Portfolios, also known as e-portfolios, form part of personal online spaces such as digital learning platforms and store a range of data types, including text, audio and video evidence which demonstrates what students know and have done, over time (Maher & Geber, 2009). Portfolios are often intended under the control of learners and can be used for a range of purposes, including documenting:
• products – actual work samples, learning opportunities;
• processes– students’ reflections of their learning, outlines, drafts, strategies used;
• perceptions of learning – attitudes, motivations, self assessments and goal setting.
Portfolios can work for learners of all ages. For example, UK students in an early
years setting create an ‘e-profile’, based mainly on images of activities and outcomes,
with the assistance of their teachers. These are then used in a diagnostic way for
assessment and planning and have the effect of increasing self-esteem for many
students. The e-profile system is a means of recording progress that has been
found to be successful with three- to five-year-old children, making it an initial (and
arguably necessary) stage on the road to full e-portfolio development (Hartnell-Young,
Harrison, Crook, Davies, Fisher, Pemberton & Smallwood, 2007).
One of the benefits of portfolios is the rich amount of evidence students can store
and present to various audiences to demonstrate their progress and achievements
at any point in time. A digital learning platform like the Ultranet provides a repository for students to house those pieces of work that show what they know and can do.
Portfolios however, do not have to contain every piece of work a student completes.
With the support of teachers and parents, students can determine the purpose and
audience for their portfolios, and select pieces of work to be used as evidence to
demonstrate achievements to those different audiences.
Used well, portfolios allow teachers to follow each student’s progress and provide
ongoing, personalised feedback, while also assessing the outcomes students have
achieved and validating them against external criteria in a rubric consistent with
relevant curriculum standards. By collecting and storing evidence over time, teachers,
parents and students can track progress along a personalised learning journey
Once teachers know where each student is up to in their learning and development
through analysing the available data, they are in a position to plan appropriate and
relevant learning activities, including assessments, to help them progress.
Excerpts of an assignment by Batula bdulazeez at the ISM, Paris, France, 2013