Technology in Assessing Student Learning
In educational learning, assessment is very important. Assessing the student learning helps in improving the quality of education. This is it gives a close interaction between the teacher and the students. Therefore, the teacher is able to know the weaknesses and strengths of the student and thus will work more towards helping the student overcome their weaknesses. Assessment also aids in making of decisions. Technology is very essential in facilitating the assessment of student learning. Technology helps in the easier bringing of the problems in the real world into the classroom. This therefore gives the student an opportunity to take part in complex learning and this will improve their reasoning and decision making skills (Spurlin, 2006).
Integrating technology in student learning also allows a greater focus to be made on the specific learning areas. For example in engineering, the use of technology will make more effective learning than where the student has to use a pen and paper to draft their ideas. Further, technology makes work easier for both the learner and the teacher. For instance, assignments that are submitted online will be easier to go through than those that involve a lot of paper work. This then makes learning even more efficient since there are minimal chances of loosing part of the assignment unlike when papers are used which can easily get lost.
There are two different types of assessments that a teacher should use in assessing their students learning. These are formative assessments and summative assessments. Formative assessments are immediate assessments and thus give the teacher the immediate and precise feedback about their student learning. These types of assessments gain great use in the process of learning. Therefore, formative assessments are continuous assessments that use as a diagnosis of the continuous learning of students. On the other hand, summative assessments are cumulative and they measure the growth of students after a specified time of instruction. For instance, these are the assessments which can be done at the end of the course.
These can be done by for example taking a paper and then assessing by means of grading. While formative assessments establish whether short term goals of learning have been met, summative assessments determine the long term goals. Through technology, students will be able to access their assignments and submit them by use of emails. According to Franklin & Peat (2002), technology can also be integrated in these assessments by use of electronic grading books. These save the time that would otherwise have been used giving handwritten reports. They also allow issuing of early performance reports.
Technology in assessment of student learning is both advantageous and disadvantageous. The number of students who attend learning institutions is increasing each day. Therefore, when technology is integrated in assessment, it becomes easier to assess these large numbers of students. Students might also have other commitments and thus the need for distance learning. It is only through the use of technology that distance learning which will also involve assessment can be made possible (Valenti, 2003). Further, use of technology through distance learning will help in decongesting classrooms. In student learning, feedback is very important. Therefore, when using technology in assessing the learning of students getting feedback is easier and also automatic. This way, the teacher is able to reach many students at a short period of time and at the same time the students can also reach their teacher even when they are not in the vicinity of each other.
Through the use of technology, the student is also equipped with the skills that are necessary for the work place. For instance, since they are used to emailing assignments to their teachers, they will not find difficulty in emailing work assignments to their bosses and colleagues. On the other hand, technology has some cons. For example, some students may know more about computers than their teachers and hence the teacher will feel intimidated. It also reduces the student-teacher contact. Further, the integration of technology in classroom learning and assessment is expensive and thus some schools may not afford it especially having a computer for each student. Thus it even becomes harder to have good learning due to the limited number of computers.
Use of technology in student assessment is more advantageous than the disadvantages that it has. Therefore, a teacher should use technology in the assessment of student learning. However, the use of technology alone is not enough. It is true that when a teacher assesses their student online they are able to know their strengths and weaknesses and give fast feedbacks. However, there are cases when the students learning needs will need to be addressed through one on one contact between the student and the teacher. This way, technology alone will not work. Further, assessments can be done through peer evaluations. It is only with the guidance of the teacher that students will be able to evaluate themselves in class. Assessments by peers enhance the chances of learning since students will tend to understand more when taught by their peers. This is something that can not be done online and therefore use of technology alone is not completely effective.
Franklin, S. & Peat, M. (2002). Use of online and offline formative and summative assessment opportunities. Retrieved on February 21, 2011 from: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland02/proceedings/papers/019.pdf.
Spurlin, J.E. (2006). Technology and learning. Retrieved on February 21, 2011 from: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3005.pdf.
Valenti, S. (2003). Journal of information technology education: information technology for assessing student learning. Vol 2. 181-184
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