The UDL Educational Technology Guide 2019-2020: Technology for Special Education

John F. O'Sullivan

Chapter 1 Assessment

Assessment is one of the most important parts of a lesson. Many educators believe it is the most important part of the lesson because, without it, you cannot know if you have reached your goals. The traditional way to assess students is at the end of a unit. After you get your results, you move onto a new unit. The data is often not used to make changes within a unit. Traditionally, it was assessed to make changes for the next unit. The two units might have little in common. 

Today with technology, assessment can be done in real time. Teachers should give an assessment on a regular basis to make adjustments in teaching practices. Ideally, assessment should happen during every lesson. With technology, it is possible to make a regular assessment and change teaching practices in real time.

The good news is that students like feedback. It might be hard to believe if you got back papers years ago with tons of red ink. Students like feedback in real time. The feeling people experience when feedback is private and in real time, tends to be very positive. Anyone that has used one of the many online student response systems has seen the engagement, smiles, and even laughter. It is an experience that is hard to ignore. Even the competitive nature is enjoyed by students. As educators having students competing is something, we tend not to do. In the past, it would have been seen as a negative. In this context, it works and engages students in the learning process. It's truly amazing. The experiment of using student response systems in the classroom can be replicated and quantified in any school and any subject with similar results. It should be seen as an educational fact. If you are not doing a real-time interactive assessment, you are missing out. 

Formative/Summative Apps
These apps allow you to give quizzes and to do classroom assessment on the fly. Formative assessment is are more comprehensive assessment like a test. Summative assessment is less formal assessment or more basic feedback. Think of summative assessment as an assessment that was done in class to see if a concept was learned or to assessment a topic you will be teaching in class. 

Grading Apps
These apps grade students work instantly. They have less of a classroom impact because they are typically used to grade tests after the fact. However, they can be used during class to give feedback on a short quiz or review. Anytime feedback is speeded up, there is an educational benefit. When teachers can spend less time on one task that gives them more time to spend on other areas of learning. 

These are guides that give a teacher’s grading criteria. Rubric apps, extension, websites, and software help teachers to better write rubrics and organize grading criteria. 

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