Building a formative assessment toolkit is key at a time when remote learning is a necessity. In this blog entry, we’ll explore two tools you may be unfamiliar with. Before we do that, let’s review why quiz tools can accelerate student learning.
In past blog entries, I’ve explored retrieval practice tools you can use for remote formative assessment. When you’re online, it doesn’t matter how remote you are. The key is being able to push students to take, and/or make their own, practice tests.
Research shows that retrieval practice has an effect size of 0.46. Since we’ve covered that in another blog entry, let’s focus on two exciting tools. Special thanks to Keith Schoch for sharing his insight as a comment on Class Discussions Gone Digital.
Expand Your Toolkit
Two new formative assessment tools that may have escaped your notice include Spiral and Testmoz. Let’s take a moment to explore each. Neither of these tools is free, but there are trials you can take advantage of. Before deciding to use this on a long-term basis, check with your school supervisor (or someone who controls the budget).
Quickfire Lite is one of Spiral’s free features.
Assessment Tool #1: Spiral
Offering a free account, a 30-day free trial, or $5 monthly/$50 annual fee, Spiral has some special attributes.
Spiral connects you to your students in class with a code. You can then carry out formative assessments, allow your students to collaborate on group tasks or ask questions during video. Reports allow teachers and students to reflect on how to improve. Sign up for a free trial at Spiral.ac and contact them for institution plans. (Source: Spiral YouTube Channel)
They describe their features in the following way:
- Free Features:
- Google Classroom, Clever, and Edmodo integration
- Verbal, formative assessment tool (record a question and receive student responses)
- Run live activities with students for review and grading
- Exit tickets
- Student and teacher dashboard
- Feedback and grading
- Class roster
- Fee Required:
- Video-based activities, team activities, interactive activities
- Ability to import presentations from PowerPoint/Google Slides
- Collaborative activities for students
- Out of class student assignments
Spiral makes the point that you do NOT need to integrate it with your school’s learning management system (e.g. Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Schoology). While this is nice, grading features would benefit from integration with more than Google Classroom.
Clip, one of Spiral’s features, reminds me of Flipgrid. It allows you to turn any public video into “a live chat with questions and quizzes.” As the teacher, you can watch the class as they engage in several activities. Those activities include answering questions posed via Quickfire Lite option.
Did You Know?
Sign up for one of our Google Certified Educator certifications. You’ll learn about more than Google Meet, as well as earn 12 CPE hours per course. Use these courses to get Google Educator certified. Find out more online.
Assessment Tool #2: Testmoz
Need to create tests for your class? Give Testmoz a try. With the free version, you can “build, distribute and collect the results of a basic test.” This includes up to fifty questions and one hundred results per test. Testmoz has a wide variety of features, but if you want all of them, you will need to pay $50 a year for it.
One nice offering from Testmoz is that they discount fifty percent for “government/non-profit school teachers.” At $25 a year, this makes Testmoz an amazing resource. And school districts can buy the source code for $10,000 so they can load it on their own server(s). Testmoz reminds of a free, open source quiz tool that I explored many years ago. The developer has done a nice job creating a simple, straightforward tool.
Many course management systems (e.g. Canvas, Moodle) offer features similar to what Testmoz offers at a fraction of the cost. This makes it easy to integrate or use. What’s more, Testmoz relies on email notifications for use with older students and offers a nice dashboard for teachers:
Formative Assessment at a Distance
If you find yourself in need for a fresh way to assess students remotely, consider Spiral with its dis-associative approach. Students simply enter a code and they are in. Testmoz, on the other hand, offers a rich feature set for question formulation. Remember that retrieval practice can accelerate student learning. How you accomplish it will depend on what tools you and your students have available.