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Tests and Quizzes - Best Practices

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[edit] OFFER A TRIAL RUN

Both students and instructors may benefit from being introduced to assessment-taking in the online environment slowly, as issues related to user understanding, hardware, and assessment configuration can figure into overall success. For this reason, it might be beneficial to assign online, ungraded “Get to know you” or practice quizzes using Isaak-Sakai’s Tests and Quizzes tool that approximates the configuration and flow of formal assessments for the course. This will afford students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the experience and for instructors to sample facilitation prior to any graded assessments.

[edit] PREVENT LOSS OF DATA

[edit] Assign one question per assessment page

Students who do not submit, save their assessment submissions, or advance to subsequent questions (by selecting the Next or Prev buttons available within the online assessment) within 60 minutes of first beginning an assessment may lose their submissions because of general inactivity timeout. To help prevent potential loss of data, instructors can organize assessments so that all questions appear on separate pages, obliging the user to navigate using the Next or Prev buttons and ensuring constant renewal of timeout countdowns. This can be done by entering an assessment’s Settings, expanding Assessment Organization, and selecting Each Question is on a separate Web page. Information about accessing and modifying Settings is available at the Assessment settings help page.

[edit] Enable automatic submission of un-submitted assessments

Another helpful measure may be to enable the automatic submission of un-submitted, saved sessions at the assessment due date. Student work will thus be recorded in the event of a browser or network crash, or if the user does not manually submit. Note that this automation will not occur if a student has already submitted a completed assessment. Automatic submission can be enabled by entering an assessment’s Settings, expanding Submissions, and selecting Saved assessments will be automatically submitted after the due date passes.

[edit] Provide some time between assessment due dates and retraction dates

It is generally advisable to fully retract an online assessment after an additional 10 percent of the assessment’s 'open' duration has passed since the formal deadline. This will allow for any unforeseen technical or user complications, and will allow students who began the assessment during the permitted period to submit completed assessments after the deadline, receiving notations of late submission. This can be done by entering an assessment’s Settings, expanding Delivery Dates, and modifying the Due Date and Retract Date as appropriate.

To retract a live assessment at any point during its open period, use the Image:retractnow_button.png button available within an assessment’s Settings, then Delivery Dates menu. Note that this action will force automatic submissions as described in the section above, but will also end the 'open' period allotted for students to write the assessment.

[edit] Provide some additional time at the beginning and end of an assessment

It is also advisable to plan to provide some additional time (10 minutes) both at the beginning and end of assessments that might be used by students to address any unexpected technical or usage complications. Assessment durations can be managed within the Timed Assessment section of each assessment's settings menu. Information on accessing and modifying Settings is available at the Assessment settings help page.

[edit] Enable the Statistics tool prior to online assessment

The Statistics tool allows instructors to view user statistics related to the activities of both users and site resources. Before launching an online assessment, it is advisable to enable Statistics to provide a method of reviewing basic information about student access to assessments should any issues arise. Information about adding tools is available at the Site Info help page.

[edit] Do not delete completed or in-progress assessments

Once an online assessment has been published and made available to students, it is normally best not to permanently delete the assessment for any reason, especially if there is a possibility that students have already submitted. In the case that an assessment must be withdrawn, it is far safer to use the Image:retractnow_button.png option available within the assessment's Settings menu, as this action will ensure that submitted data will be retained for future reference.

Information about online assessment availability to students is available within the Delivery Dates section of the assessment's Settings menu. To determine if an online assessment has already received submissions, view the Published Assessments listing available on the Tests and Quizzes homepage. An image illustrating this is displayed.

View in-progress and submitted assessments
View in-progress and submitted assessments

[edit] PROTECT STUDENT PRIVACY

Privacy Concern

This tool can disclose the names of other participants inside the same course or site. Please consider student privacy before you turn this tool on.

If enabled, the Roster tool allows all site users within a course to see all other site users within the default course group (as set by Isaak-Sakai when a course site is created). Additionally, if the instructor manually creates and adds members to custom groups, members of those groups will see the names of other members within the same group. This is fine in most cases, but may require a second thought if a group is created to include individuals for confidential reasons.

Please consider the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and Brock University's own privacy policies. You can learn more at http://www.brocku.ca/accessandprivacy/

The creation of modified versions of assessments is normally an excellent way to accommodate the various needs of learners, but there are some privacy concerns to consider if the Roster tool is enabled. As described in the page "Accommodating Varied Assessment Durations", an effective way to accommodate is to manually create student groups to offer custom access to different assessment versions. Because the Roster tool allows students to view all other members within their respective course group, a considerable privacy concern exists if students have been placed in custom groups for confidential or sensitive purposes. If you would like to facilitate course-wide communication and transparency but prefer to avoid the potential issue described above, consider disabling the Roster tool and instead enabling the Messages or Forums tools, or request a Kumu Wiki or Etherpad for your course site.

[edit] OFFER HIGH FREQUENCY / LOW STAKES TESTING

Higher frequency but lower stakes assessments tend to be less prone to risk within the online environment than traditionally high-stakes midterm and final examination models. Instructors may thus wish to release chapter, weekly, or monthly assessments to provide for small fractions of overall course grading but equating collectively to the fraction allocated to larger assessments.

[edit] SUPPORT ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Assume that all known risks that apply to traditional take-home assessments apply to assessments done online. Consider the points below to help ensure academic integrity as online assessments are administered.

[edit] Test for critical thinking

Assessment that calls upon participants to leverage critical thinking rather than memorization skills will provide more opportunities for unique responses based on individual understanding and application of course content.

[edit] Randomize question selection and arrangement

Randomizing questions will generally ensure that students writing the same assessment do not receive the same question selections or arrangement, and can be useful if students tend to be in close quarters with one another during assessment. This can most effectively be done by assigning random draws from pre-created Question Pools. For information about adding questions to Question pools, visit the "Add Questions to Question Pool" help page. To instruct an assessment to draw from an existing Question Pool, follow the steps as outlined below:

  1. Open the --Select Action-- menu associated with an existing assessment, then select Edit. If creating a new assessment, enter a title in the Create assessment (enter title) space, then select Create.
  2. Select Edit (as associated with Part 1)
  3. In the Type section of the editing menu, select Random draw from question pool, then indicate the name of the Question Pool from which questions are to be drawn within the Pool name (total # of questions) menu.
  4. Indicate a number of questions to be randomly drawn from the target Question Pool in Number of questions.
  5. Optionally enter a default point value for all questions assigned from the Question Pool in Point value of questions. Note that this feature overrides point values of questions in the originating pool.

To randomize question answers (in the case of multiple choice or true/false responses), take the following steps:

[edit] Questions drawn from Question Pools

  1. Access a Question Pool directly by opening the Tests and Quizzes tool, selecting Question Pools, then the title of the pool to be edited.
  2. Locate the question to be edited within the list that appears. Select a question by clicking on its text.
  3. Ensure that Yes is enabled within the Randomize Answers section.
  4. Select Save to continue.

[edit] Questions authored one-by-one within assessments

  1. Open the --Select Action-- menu associated with an existing assessment, then select Edit. If creating a new assessment, enter a title in the Create assessment (enter title) space, then select Create.
  2. Open the menu adjacent to Insert New Question, then select either Multiple Choice or True False. To edit an existing question, locate the question within the listing and select its associated Edit option.
  3. Scroll to the Randomize Answers option, selecting Yes. Note that question content such as question and answers text must be input before selecting Save.

[edit] Time assessments strategically

Providing time limits for online assessments helps to reduce the opportunities for users to collaborate or refer to other sources of information when these behaviours are not intended. However, in doing so, be sure to consider the points made in the section Provide some additional time at the beginning and end of an assessment above. Assessment durations can be managed within the Timed Assessment section of each assessment's settings menu. Information about accessing and modifying Settings is available at the Assessment settings help page.

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