Assessment and Feedback in ICT

Marking

Originally uploaded by Pkabz

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, but real life has been taking over of late.

Thankfully, I was emailed today asking about how I deal with assessment at KS3 so I can kill two birds with one stone.

The email wasn’t so much what or how I assess, but how do I communicate this with the students and how do they respond to it. In many subjects a stuck in sheet at the front of the book serves to maintain a persistent and consistent platform for feedback and responses – but in ICT lessons we don’t use exercise books, and I’m loathe to start just for that reason.

We could always give students pieces of paper, or have them filed in the room, but this seems similarly arbitrary and far from ideal.

We did try using Moodle for a good few years, with a course set aside just for assessed pieces of work to be uploaded and feedback given. It required one upload assignment for each assessed unit and while the feedback was persistent (students could always go back and look at it) it was still very unidirectional.

Since about the middle of last year we’ve been using the Moodle Dialogue Module. While I was loathe to start adding non-core modules because of the hassles involved in upgrading further down the line, the functionality really couldn’t be found any other way.

Installation and setup is simple, although it’s virtually essential to be using groups*. I find it easiest to get the students to initiate the dialogue (you need to be enrolled as a teacher for the students to see you) although you can start a dialogue with an entire group at a time.

Both sides can write messages and upload files and the conversation is private between you and the student. This way the student can upload their work with a brief self-assessment, you can leave detailed feedback and they can respond. Every 3 or 4 lessons we bring the students back to the dialogue and look at what their specific targets are and can measure their own progress.

We’re also in the process of designing some large display boards with level descriptors so students can refer to these as they go.

It’s not perfect, and one of the bugbears is that impatient students will hit the submit button 3 or 4 times, creating 3 or 4 entries that can’t be edited or removed after the 30 minute grace period.

On the whole, though, it’s working very well and in the whole discussions and working parties on assessment and feedback our system has been praised by SLT – so it can’t be that bad!

* Top tip: Set up the groups before you enrol the students and give each group a unique enrolment key. Put a different enrolment key on the course and when students sign up with their class’ enrolment key they automatically appear in the right group.

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3 thoughts on “Assessment and Feedback in ICT

    • Tim, I’m not entirely sure what you mean.

      The post is about communicating with students, and helping them to understand where they are and how to make progress. Simply setting a task, marking it and handing it back doesn’t really cut it. Students either look at the grade, ignore everything else and move on OR if there is no grade they might glance at the feedback, instantly forget it and move on. What I’m trying to do is engage the students in a discussion about their strengths, weaknesses and progress.

      More often than not the discussion is based around an assignment as this helps to nail down exactly what was good/bad/better about their work/knowledge/understanding. In most subjects the students have an exercise book which makes it easier (though far from trivial). Here, the issues are slightly more complex, but the range of possible solutions is also broader.

  1. Yes this is an issue I’m trying to work out, I notice some students appreciate feedback, and others must need pictures or audio because they don’t implement any changes, and now and then they hand in the same quality work next time. And I wonder how we can be more “effective” and if the time has come to find new ways to give feedback, or new tools to use.

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