Alternatives to Clickers for Digital Assessments: Google Forms, Conditional Formatting, and Flubaroo

When I was young, I knew that I would be a teacher.  In high school, I began collecting items that I knew  would use in my classroom.  By the time I walked into my classroom in 2006 I had an amazing classroom library and a completely awesome set of stickers ready to go on those papers that I was going to love grading.  Well, my love affair with grading papers lasted about a month; after that it was just a pain.  At that point I didn’t have a SMART Board, I didn’t have clickers, and we didn’t have Google Apps for Education.

There are many things that I love about Google apps like Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, etc.  The two things I love the most about Google docs is the ability to collaborate with others in real time and the ability to use a Google Form to create digital assessments and surveys.  To learn how to create a Google Form to collect assessment data, watch the short tutorial video below.

I love using Google Forms to collect assessment data because all of the responses are loaded into a Google Spreadsheet.  This allows you, the teacher, to analyze the data in one place and even begin to manipulate the data.  Within the spreadsheet, under “Form”, you can choose to view a summary of responses, and based on the type of questions you may even be able to get a graph of responses.  Like other spreadsheet software, you can also filter, sort, and rearrange the data if you need to.

Not long after I began creating assessments using Google Forms (my students LOVED taking the tests on the computers), I heard about a script that will grade your assessments for you.  Obviously, if you use open ended questions, it can’t grade that.  I have a different solution to that problem that I’ll describe a little later in this post.  The script that will grade your assessment is called Flubaroo.  Watch the video below to see how easy it is grade an assessment with Flubaroo.

But, Lauren, that doesn’t grade essay type questions…Well, no it doesn’t.  However, you can use a tool called conditional formatting to let you know which questions you may need to spend more time reading and which ones you can just skim.  When writing your essay or constructed response questions, be very specific in your wording.  You might say, “Using vocabulary that you’ve learned in class…,” or “Using people’s names, describe…”.  This will allow you to color code those responses by whether or not they include those specific words or names.  If you set up your conditional formatting to look for your vocabulary words and a cell is highlighted green (you choose the colors), that will tell you that that student used vocabulary words so you may be able to skim that response rather than read it word for word.  If the cell highlights red, you know that that student may lose some points because he/she didn’t follow directions, but you’d have to read it more carefully to determine if they understand the concept.  Interested in conditional formatting?  What this short tutorial video.

Want to know more about alternatives to clickers for digital assessments?  Check out these other posts on the topic.

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