Student Learning

Strategies For Effective Assessment Of Students In An Online Learning Environment

3 Mins read

The sudden transit to the online learning environment from schools to home has found teachers, parents and the student community at different levels of preparedness. Academically, the pandemic has translated to wi-fi powered devices, online study materials, virtual lessons and coherent online assessments as the new normal in education. But online distance learning can be very challenging for the student-teacher community.

Educators are sometimes having to use unfamiliar technologies and figure at the same time how to instruct students effectively. Likewise, students and their parents equally face challenges with rapid technological demands and effective assessment mechanism. Because even in the best circumstances, remote instructions can intensify challenges. SSVM, being one of the best boarding schools in Coimbatore, our successful review mechanism is focused on clarity, review, checking for concept understanding and prompt feedback. The need to constructively assess student learning is becoming more critical.

 In recent weeks though, educators and practicing teachers have offered pointers that can help with a better assessment of students in a remote learning environment.

  • Assessing your Peers

Peer feedback is a constructive review model that help students learn and provide progress insights for all involved. It is more effective than written feedback for each student by the teacher and can be used as a formative assessment of students. Online peer feedback forms can capture helpful insights and monitor comments that each student receives to stay updated on individual progress.

How to do it?

  • Feedback discussion boards can be conducted on Skype, Zoom or another video conferencing platform
  • Share feedback samples that are constructive, specific, detailed and meaningful.
  • Self-Assessment

Student reflection of their own understanding and gaps reveal their learning levels. Easing the process by uploading a simple google form, survey questionnaire or asking for an audio reflection record can aid teachers to effectively assess students.

How to do it?

  • Set periodic self-assessment sessions such that regular student progress can be monitored.
  • Reward integrity and honesty
  • Use self-assessments for one-one discussions with the parent-student community.
  • Group Projects

Assigning relevant projects to a carefully selected student group helps to assess student’s ability to perform a certain role in a team. Different students take up diverse responsibilities to bring together the final output of a collaborative effort. Assessing individual competency in the overall process helps to successfully review them.

How to do it?

  • Assign different yet distinct roles to each student to mark their performance. Know their roles while assessing them.
  • Score each student individually based on their contribution and involvement in the project.
  • Independent Projects

Project-based independent assessments have proven success in distance learning. Educators can assess a single, substantial piece of work across multiple criteria as opposed to collaborative assignments. Most of these projects are centred around a problem-solving activity, critical analysis, research topic, creative aspect, valued-based or a mix of different learning techniques.

How to do it?

  • Detail the task and its sub-sections clearly
  • Structure the process such that outcomes are effective. Set aside adequate time to brainstorm, research and accomplish it jointly.
  • Use this opportunity to interact and engage students in a learning environment
  • Schedule regular progress updates and submission deadline. That will structure the review mechanism better.
  • Video Presentations

Oral presentations in an online learning environment are more effective than in a classroom setting. The lack of a visible audience reduces anxiety and provides an opportunity for the teachers to carefully assess students’ speaking skills, presentation techniques, subject knowledge and confidence levels.

How to do it?          

  • Mentor and coach students on fundamentals of online presentation techniques like verbal communication skills, clarity in speech, speaking into the microphone, stressing on keywords etc.
  • Students can also make live video presentations to the class either on Zoom, Teams or Skype.
  • Portfolios

Many schools are adopting digital portfolios instead of the traditional filing system. It is turning out to be a perfect assessment tool in distance education. Schools can create a designated portfolio for each student. Google Classroom or OneNote are common tools to create portfolios.

How to do it?

  • Structure the portfolio such that specific goals are established. This will determine specific learning on pieces of work that must be included.
  • Progress to be monitored regularly.
  • Encourage reflection to be part of the portfolio for a more authentic review process.
  • Online Discussions

Message boards are great repositories to read student comments, unlike classroom discussions. It makes for an informed learning assessment tool. Students must be encouraged to post detailed responses that may not happen in a live setting.

How to do it?

  • Create a protocol guideline briefing students to be more respectful during online discussions.
  • Facilitate, moderate and monitor online discussions with leading questions and prompts.

SSVM, a top school in Coimbatore is getting creative, experiencing innovations with new strategies and integrating multifaceted approaches into a digital learning environment every day that will transform the assessment process to a great degree. An educator’s judgement is also essential to reliably assess student learning. Trusting one’s professional judgement, therefore bring about long-standing transformations in the whole approach of assessing students in virtual classrooms.

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