Keri Brown is a kindergarten teacher in central Alabama who runs the teaching blog Enchanted Kinder Garden. We asked her about what education technology has been the most useful throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and what makes a quality online assessment tool.
Teacher and Founder, Enchanted Kinder Garden
In what ways have online assessment tools alleviated stress while teaching remotely or in a hybrid setting?
I have taught remotely all school year. With progress reports and report cards still being a thing even for remote students, I was happy that I already had a way to access them. I use an online assessment tool that I can just log into on my computer. I then use my iPad to log into the “student screen” version. In the assessment, whatever test that I open on my computer, they can see the words, pictures, and letters without seeing if I am clicking if they got it correct or incorrect.
Being able to have this resource has been such a lifesaver. It makes being able to assess every student one-on-one so much quicker. Now every child has an assessment time of about 15 minutes and I meet with them every week to keep up with their progress.
How will online assessment tools be utilized in the future? Will you still use them while teaching in person?
I will continue using online assessment tools when students come back in person. The reporting tools, quickness, and ease of use saves so much time. I do not have to use any papers to assess my students; all of my assessments and questions are all on the online assessment. I can quickly randomize the questions, change the images, or completely change the questions. There is nothing that has to be printed for every student.
What are specific features you use that are the most helpful for you as a teacher? What about for students?
With this particular online assessment, reports are made to be printed as soon as any assessment is completed. When it prints out, it shows exactly what the question was, if the student got it correct or incorrect, and allows me to make flash cards from these questions. So if I was testing sight words, I would be able to see exactly which words they missed. Then I could print off the sight words as flash cards for them to practice at home.
For my students, the easiest thing is being able to keep them engaged while assessing. Assessments aren’t fun, but being able to show brightly colored pictures and quickly going through each question keeps them into what we are doing.
How have online assessment tools improved students’ education? What about those who don’t have equal access to such tools or technology?
All of our students were issued Chromebooks to take home. They were also given hotspots if needed for the internet. All of our students have the same access to technology.
Online assessment tools have improved my students’ education because I don’t have to sit and waste time to see which letters are the most unknown. I can click a few times in the online assessment and quickly pull up how my entire class is doing on letter sounds. This helps my students because I can easily see how I need to shift my instruction for the next week or even for the next day.
What are your top tips for choosing and using online assessment tools?
For me, there is no other choice than what I currently use. I’ve used many assessment tools, but if the one that you are looking at does not provide a student screen option, immediate reports, flash cards, parent letters, and hundreds of pre-made skills/standards already created all while saving you time, you need to keep looking.