Making Academic Assessments Relevant and Impactful with a Digital Learning Platform
December 24th, 2019
The use of assessments for determining admission into educational institutions and successful graduation did not begin in the western world until 1702, following a series of reforms in Oxford and Cambridge Universities. This was done to improve the falling standards of education, and they proved to be a huge success. From then on, the use of assessments spread like wildfire across the globe.
The Need for Assessments in Education
Today, it is difficult to imagine an education system without assessments of student learning. So, what makes them such an important part of the learning and teaching process?
- Assessments allow teachers to track the progress of students. This helps them know which students are lagging behind so that the appropriate help can be provided.
- With the help of assessments, educators can provide feedback to students. This allows students to improve their academic performance.
- Assessments motivate students to work harder since they know they are going to be evaluated at the end of the term.
- The use of assessments makes teachers much more critically reflective of their teaching methods, helping to measure the degree of effectiveness of their teaching. This is done by linking the performance of students to specific learning objectives. This allows teachers to strategize effective teaching methods.
How E-Learning Leads to Better Assessments
There was little change in the way assessments were conducted until the start of the 21st century. So much so that assessments have been completely transformed in the last two decades, with the advent of e-learning. Here’s a look at some of the ways in which e-learning has improved this process.
Not all feedback is as effective. With the help of e-learning, students can receive immediate feedback. Instant feedback is more effective, giving students immediate insights into their strengths and weakness. This way they can work on their performance to constantly improve.
More Engaging Feedback
By making use of modern technology, the feedback process can be made a lot more engaging and fun. Digital learning platforms allow the use of gaming and interactive elements for assessments. There can also be leader boards that show how a student ranks compared to their classmates. Such digital assessments for students especially effective with Gen Z, improving the engagement levels. They also lead to more nuanced and balanced student learning outcomes.
Easy Customization of Assessments
Traditionally, assessments have worked well for a majority of students, who make up the middle bulk of the spectrum. But, for students who are struggling or are high achievers, the standardized tests do not prove to be as effective. However, with a robust digital platform, classroom assessments can be easily customized.
Advanced learning platforms, such as MagicBox™, allow teachers as well as parents to get valuable learning analytics about each student. They can check the time spent on reading specific pages or chapters, homework/assessment scores, eBooks read, and the number of pages turned/read by the student. Such data allows the test to be much more personalized and relevant. Adaptive tests allow teachers to find out strengths as well as problem areas of each student.
With the help of digital platforms, standards-based assessments can also be conducted. When assessments are standardized, they can help ascertain whether students are ingrained with the practical knowledge necessary for a successful career. They keep a check on whether students gain a deeper understanding of the subject, while also testing reasoning skills, critical thinking ability and interpersonal skills. They have been found to be so effective that the implementation of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) has already started in the field of STEM education.
The NGSS guidelines have been created to prepare students to perform at a high level in the STEM fields. According to the NGSS guidelines, a number of different assessment approaches are taken by teachers, including summative and formative tasks. Summative tasks are used for assigning grades to the students, whereas formative tasks are used for guiding instructional decisions. The emphasis is always on interconnecting the various scientific disciplines. Such tests can be conducted very easily through a digital platform.
Digital learning platforms can improve how the assessment of student learning is conducted, as well as the takeaways from such assessment. With the focus of education on instilling real-world skills, such that students are prepared for the future, assessments are a great way to track the effectiveness of such education. Digital learning platforms offer a high degree of customizability for assessments while making the entire education process more engaging and personalized for the students. This means that assessments will provide much more relevant and valuable insights that will benefit all stakeholders in the education sector – educational institutions, teachers, authorities, students and parents.