How Technology-Based Assessments Aid Student Learning

After more than a year of disruption and adjusting to the new normal, teachers are looking for an accurate gauge of student comprehension. They are turning to technology to help in their assessments.

Tech in the Classroom

The pandemic put a spotlight on the importance of technology in and out of the classroom. Virtual learning became essential when students could not attend classes in person. Students, teachers and families adapted to a new way of life.

A major concern during the coronavirus crisis was the potential impact of academic learning loss. The crisis showed how devastating the lack of sufficient technology and digital skills could be on education, with some students losing at least a year of their studies.

While recent events have put more focus on technology in education, tech tools and applications have long been used in the classroom—enhancing instruction and curriculum design. Now, teachers are using technology to find out exactly what students know and if they need extra help.

Measuring Educational Effectiveness

Classroom interactions are valuable sources of information. They are filled with activities that give teachers a chance to make assessments. Educational assessments can be either formative or summative:

  • Formative – continuously monitoring students while they are learning. These assessments help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work.
  • Summative – evaluating student learning at the end of an instructional unit, usually through tests, exams and final projects.

Technology is used in both types of assessments, but offers quick and compelling insights when used to identify knowledge gaps in formative assessments.

Formative assessments include ongoing communication between teachers and students, in the form of observations, questioning and discussions. These interactions give teachers valuable feedback about students’ levels of achievement and social skills. At regular intervals, educators can ultimately evaluate student progress toward a goal.

To be effective, assessments must have a clear focus and reflect the content and methods the teacher has been using, according to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Technology-based assessments help teachers make informed decisions and become aware of the extent to which students are learning what is being taught and whether the methods they are using are supporting, or discouraging, learning. Assessments can also go beyond lesson comprehension—teachers also focus on students’ feelings, attitudes and interests.

Next-Generation Assessments

A benefit of technology-based formative assessments is that they offer instant feedback, according to the Office of Educational Technology of the U.S. Department of Education. The real-time reporting of results provides educators with an immediate understanding of students’ strengths and weaknesses. Thus, they are able to respond to student needs more quickly than they would using traditional assessments.

On tech-based assessment platforms, teachers can give feedback to students through video, audio or text. They can also engage in online chats, e-mail feedback about student learning directly to families and connect students to resources to further develop skills.

Technology has redefined K-12 educational assessments. Teachers can now provide personalized education and adapt instruction throughout the school day. The unique characteristics of technology-based assessments enable educators, students and families to improve academic achievement as we navigate a changing world.

Up-to-Date Skills for the Classroom Carlow University has master’s degrees that can give you the skills needed to apply new tools and models for teaching success. The Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction: Online Teaching will prepare you to design instruction and lead classrooms using best practices and innovative technology.

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