A Homework Machine for Teachers: More on Assessment with Google Docs

Video updated at higher resolution.
I've had a request to post more about how I use Google Docs to assess my students, so here we go!

Remember as a kid, we were always wishing that someone would invent a homework machine? Well if taking stacks of papers home to grade is the teacher's equivalent of homework, then our childhood prayers have finally been answered. Through Google Forms there are now multiple methods to have your computer grade assessments for you - while still maintaining the rich data to inform your instruction!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video could be worth exponentially more. Therefore, I've created a short video on creating these forms and using conditional formatting to "grade" them. Scroll down below the video to read more about using conditional formatting for grading these e-assessments, as well an alternative method.

A second method to grade a Google forms is also available: Flubaroo. This is a script that can be installed into your Google Docs for free and will auto-grade your form. The main difference between this method and conditional formatting is that this script will provide the following: percent correct, auto-highlighted fields that activate when under 60% of your class got an item correct and an item summary. A great video regarding the use of this script can be found here.

I've found that Flubaroo and conditional formatting each have their own virtues and vices. Flubaroo is a great tool to use when you give a formal test and want a final grade to enter in your gradebook - i.e., summative assessments. I use this method with end-of-unit assessments, pre-tests/post-tests, etc. Flubaroo offers great tools such as a summary graph, emailing results to your class or yourself and other neat features. However there are a few keystrokes required to generate the data in Flubaroo, whereas conditional formatting is automatic.

Conditional formatting, therefore, works great when you want a quick, auto-generated, on-the-go visual as to your kids' progress on short assessments - i.e., formative assessments. I use this method with daily exit tickets, quick dip-sticking questions, mood check-in, surveys, etc. While this method lacks some of the data read-out of the Flubaroo script, it is useful when you don't have time to analyze the data in a spreadsheet, or aren't concerned with percent correct as much as single item analysis.

Please let me know if you have any other questions about this, or other, technology-based assessment methods!
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