Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Using Comments to Provide Feedback on Student Writing

Fourth graders are using Google Docs to compose and edit personal narratives. Their stories are shared with their teachers, so teachers can evaluate them from any computer with internet access. Teachers like this tool, for several reasons. One is that they don't have to take home a pile of papers to grade; they can just log into their Google accounts. Another nifty feature of Google Docs is the ability to leave comments right on the documents. Teachers can highlight areas of concern or just leave broader comments. This can be a faster way of providing feedback, because teachers can type faster than they can hand write comments.  And students don't have any trouble reading the comments left by their teachers! Also, students can respond to comments with their thoughts or ideas. Corrections and revisions are made simply by editing the document online. Later, when the problem or concern is resolved, then the comment can be closed. Google Docs offers many positive opportunities for changing the way writing is evaluated.

Notice that Ms. Figueroa's first comment asks Erika to work on adding a space after every punctuation mark. In the draft that you see, Erika has made those corrections and Ms. Figueroa has checked the work again and marked that issue as resolved.

Ms. Figueroa has added several comments to Tiernee's personal narrative, noting that her story has a "great hook" and also noting word choice and asking for more detail in part of her story.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Google Tools Speed Test Taking, Test Grading

Fourth grade students took their social studies test on the Mexican Revolution this afternoon online, via a Google form. Their teachers then used a Google script/add-on called Flubaroo to grade all 109 tests in just a couple of minutes.

Paige, in Ms. Cline's class, works on her Mexican Revolution Test.
How did this process work? First, Teacher Jackie Choudhry wrote the multiple choice test. Then she and teacher Betty Patten worked together to create the test as a multiple choice Google form, along with an electronic answer key.

Ms. Choudhry then emailed the link to the Mexican Revolution test to all Herrington fourth graders. When it was time to take the test, students logged into their Gmail accounts, opened the email from Ms. Choudhry, and clicked on the link to the test.

The test was "open note", so students were allowed to use their work from this week to answer test questions. After completing the test, students then clicked "submit" to turn it in. The online test was even set up so that if students skipped a question, they were required to go back and answer it before they could submit their tests.

How were the tests graded? When student answers are submitted, they feed into a Google spreadsheet. Teachers ran a Google script/add-on called Flubaroo on the data in the spreadsheet, which compares student answers to the answer key and returns student grades along with data on what percentage of students got each question wrong.

Benefits of online tests and grading include eliminating paper/copying costs and saving teacher time on grading tests. Drawbacks are that test questions are limited to multiple choice, true-false, and short answer, where spelling must also match the answer key. However, one fourth grader in Ms. Jones' class, Dylann, said, "This was a fun way to take a test!"

Brennan works on his online test.
Elijah also works on his online test.