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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stop Stressing, Start ExamNing.

Online assessments. Are schools starting to get serious about this yet? Apparently, yes, because we have been working with a few of them, but the change for schools to support completely computerized assessments has been slow. There are only a few districts that have a 1:1 student:computer ratio; most are still resorting to bubblesheet-based assessments. When we built our online testing system, ExamN, in 2004, the landscape was completely different. After a lot of research and listening to what schools were looking for, we’ve developed something even better, something that can truly aid in the transition from paper-based testing to online testing.

Enter ExamN Version 5.

It works something like this:

As a teacher, I get to decide what kind of a test I would like to use.

Do I want to create my own?

Do I need to use a common assessment test that was created by district administrators?

Or did I find one in a text book or elsewhere that I would like to use?

And then how do I want to administer it? Online? Bubblesheets?

Classroom Assessments

If the teacher would like to create their own test it is as easy as one, two, three. One, they create test questions in a question bank in the any of most common question formats (true/false, multiple choice, short answer, etc). Two, they insert all the questions into the test in the order that they want and preview the test. Three, they schedule and launch the test for their students to take. They will get immediate results and many useful reports based on the students’ submissions.

Common Assessments

If the teacher needs to use a common assessment test they have two options. One, give the test just as it is or two, add their own questions, then give the test. The purpose of the common assessment test is for districts to see how well students in different schools across the district are doing in comparison to one another. The benefit of the teacher being able to add their own questions to a common assessment test is that the students only need to take one test and from that the teachers and administrators can both receive the information they need to know.

Automated Bubblesheet Grading

If a teacher finds a test outside of ExamN, they can still use that test, but grade the answers in ExamN. How this works is the teacher creates an answer key in ExamN and ExamN creates a bubble sheet for the teacher to print out and hand to his/her students to answer the questions on. The filled-in bubble sheet is scanned back into the system and quickly compared to the answer key resulting in fast grades and reports for each student and the class as a whole.

No more is there a need for expensive machines, paper or companies to grade bubble sheets for you. With ExamN you create, personalize and pre-populate them yourself. Pre-populating certain fields like student ID, teacher ID, Class ID and School Building avoids problems and saves time.

Online Assessments

And for those districts that do have capacity to administer computerized assessments, this makes the teacher’s job that much easier. No printing, no scanning, no grading. Period.

Performance Based Assessments

More and more districts are also moving towards performance based assessments as a more accurate picture of a student’s progress. Teachers are now able to build and use standards driven rubrics to aid in this process by adding some objectivity to a more subjective approach. Did the student meet the requirement or understand the objective? Check yes or no.

Reporting, reporting, and more reporting

After the tests are in and scores are given, you can guess what’s next – How can we generate some reports? With so many reporting options available, let’s just take a look at a few of them:

Question Summary Report: displays the results of each question and the frequency that each answer was chosen.

Common Assessment Report: displays the number and percentage of correctly and incorrectly answered common assessment questions, teacher-added questions and the total of both (assuming the teacher did add their own questions to the common assessment).

State, Common Core and College Readiness Standards Reporting: analyzes what standards have been assessed and how each student and classes as a whole performed based on the standards.

Get Results: Data Centralization, Automation…Time Saving

With all your old tests and all of your students’ test results in one easy-to-access location, giving tests and monitoring progress has never been so easy. You don’t need to shuffle through paper tests in order to discuss a student’s test results, you don’t need to try to read illegible writing, and you don’t need to take time calculating scores and figuring out the most commonly missed questions. You don’t even need to rewrite the same questions for final exams, just get the question you want out of any of your previously made question banks and apply it to a new test.

So if you are ready to let those things go, then stop stressing and start ExamNing.

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