Sharing Enthusiasm for Technology in Education

REVIEW


Work Smarter by Using Multiple Choice Assessing for Better Life Balance

Author: Mark Page-Botelho Posted: 2015-10-23

Multiple choice tests (MCT) questions have a negative connotation in most schools for many reasons. However, as with every aspect of teaching, there is a right time for every teaching tool. As a technology integrationist, and having taught in elementary through high school, I often see a very large discrepancy in workload equity across subject and grade levels. Some teachers have a lot of grading but it’s very easy to do, while others have a great deal of intense grading to do and everyone gets paid the same. I see technology as a normalizer in regards to easing the workload burden of assessing. Multiple choice or closed questions don’t work all the time, but they are a useful tool for a good deal of assessing that does take place.

What I see as a benefit in addition to equalizing workloads across classrooms is students, that may not have full command of a language, can more easily use their background knowledge to discern answers from the poised questions and answers. Some would argue that this can lead to guessing but ETS has found that this is not the case. In fact, MCT’s can negate a lot of the subjectivity that may occur when assessing open-ended answers. Free versus closed response type questions do not have any difference in response patterns as shown by a 1993 ETS research report (https://www.ets.org/research/policy_research_reports/publications/report/1993/hxap).
Regardless, of where you fall in the debate of their use, technology can help those interested in using MCT’s in their classrooms using smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Two very good cross-platform choices include,
  • GradeNinja http://gradeninja.com Web/iOS/Android, Paid
  • ZipGrade http://www.zipgrade.com iOS/Android, Paid (Creative Commons)
Using mobile devices to assess hundreds of papers within minutes is a massive time saver and teachers with little cost or time can rebalance their lives using them. I firmly believe that working longer and harder does not mean you are working smart or efficiently. For a more balanced insight on the controversy of MCT’s see Boris Korsunsky’s article “Multiple-Choice Tests: Why the Controversy?” (http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/courses/teachers_corner/40990.html). To learn more about writing a good MCT see Writing Good Multiple Choice Test Questions by Vanderbilt University.







[ ZipGrade.com ]

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