Assessment Apps, Tools, and Resources That I Would Use If I Were Still in the Classroom

Back in 2001, when I started as a teacher, the technology boom was in its nascent stage. I remember toting a large bag filled with papers home most nights and going to sleep drowning under a vast sea of student homework that needed grading. My classroom was even worse, cluttered with books, manipulatives, globes, maps, and learning stations that left little room for anything else. However, as I write this in 2018, things have changed dramatically. Today’s teachers have edtech in their corners.

Digital teaching and learning tools have streamlined education processes and provide learning experiences that stretch far beyond the materials that were available for me back in 2001. I remember creating and administering assessments to students by hand, and then taking them all back home to grade at night.

Fast forward to today, and teachers can use assessment apps to create, deliver and grade their student’s learning activities. All they have to do is enter the questions or in some instances choose the questions that they want to use, and the app delivers the assessment, grades its, and alerts the student when their score has been posted. If I were still in the classroom today, I’d use these assessment apps, tools and resources:

Socrative: Socrative is an easy-to-use program for educators who need to design several types of assessments. You can save and edit them all on your library. The student answers pop up onto the teacher’s screen in real time to ensure that there is time for instant feedback.

LightSail Education –  Teachers can use LightSail Education to monitor their students’ reading in real-time and in great detail. Teachers and students can monitor students’ per-page progress through books in addition to their performance on Common Core-aligned assessment tasks. This tool also provides students with access to books in the school’s digital library, which can be downloaded for later use. Teachers can also make use of testing results to track student progress over time.

Edulastic: This platform is filled with thirty different question types so that not all formative assessments have to be the same. You can choose from premade questions and answers in their 20,000-question certified item bank. The highlights are the reports that can be generated to show real-time data, student growth, and standards mastery.

EDaura – It is a mobile skill-based learning environment focused on improving learners’ skills through robust formative and summative assessments. EDaura allows educators to measure learning outcomes and abilities to help learners develop and improve throughout the course. It provides complete assignment management from the creation process to the correction and results publishing final stage.

FlinnPREP– Using a blended learning approach, The FlinnPREP allows science teachers to personalize learning and empower students to learn critical concepts and skills. Each course features content that is easy to understand, curated OER, videos, games, formative and summative assessments as well as full-length practice exams aligned with the learning objectives. Students also have access to practice and review exercises, and they can prepare for AP exams without anyone’s help and at their pace.

Smart Sparrow: This platform was designed as a tool for teachers to create materials and give assessments. The learning experience is highly individualized, and as such, it is different for everybody since no two individuals are the same.

Quizalize: Turn your formative assessments into a fun game to play as a class or for homework. Teachers can get instant insights into who needs help and who is doing well. Quizalize is a great way to get kids excited to take these assessments and give you the best results.

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7 Ways to Measure Student Growth

I define student growth as academic progress that is accomplished over a period, as assessed at the onset and end of a specified time. It can be calculated for countries, states, cities, schools, or students, and many variables and strategies can be used to determine if “growth” has occurred. Sounds easy, right. Not exactly. Many school districts and even state departments of education have difficulty measuring student growth. If you fall into this category, don’t worry, we have your back. In this article, we will discuss seven ways to measure student growth.

The Computer-Adaptive Approach

This approach allows educators to view student growth over a single year, as opposed to multiple years, on the same scale. Computer adaptive assessments will adjust their difficulty based on a student’s performance.

The Student Growth Percentile Approach

This approach compares a student’s growth to students with similar test scores. The benefit of this approach is that it allows us to fairly compare students who start at different levels with similar students.

The Value-Added Approach

This approach measures the teacher’s effectiveness in a given year by comparing the current test scores of their students to the scores of those same students in prior school years. Value-added models are considered fairer than other models since it takes confounding context variables like past performance, student status, or family income status into consideration.

The VAM – Covariate Adjusted Approach

In this approach, student academic growth is calculated by juxtaposing students’ predicted scores with their genuine scores. One of the drawbacks of this approach is that you will need several years of “matched” data for accuracy.

The Gain Score Approach

This approach measures year-to-year change by subtracting the year before an (initial) score from the current year (final) score. The growth of a teacher is averaged and compared to the overall average growth for other teachers. It’s easy to calculate and can be used with local assessments. The issue is that it doesn’t make accommodations for initial achievement levels; it’s just a run of the mill calculation of the change in score for students.

The Effect Size Approach

The effect size approach allows you to compute the amount of the difference between two groups. With this approach, if a teacher gets an effect size of +1.0, their students grew one standard deviation.

The Progress Monitoring Approach

This approach is different from your usual criterion-referenced assessments because they are not normed. They’re easy to administer, and the data can be shown to explain the difference between where the student is performing relative to the expected target or level.

Can you think of any additional ways that we can measure student growth?