Assessment of learning and Assessment for learning

Assessment is an integral part of instruction, as it allows to determine whether or not the educational goals or standards are being met and it provides data for instructional planning and decision making. 

There are two main types of assessment, each occurring at different points in the teaching and learning process: assessment of learning and assessment for learning. The current trend in education is the presence of both assessment systems in order to provide valid and reliable information about pupils’ achievement.

Assessment of learning involves looking at assessment information at the end of key segments in a teaching and learning cycle or at the end of the teaching and learning process to rank students’ achievement levels against a standard. It is summative and it involves standardized tests.

Assessment for learning embeds assessment processes throughout the teaching and learning process in order to readjust strategies and methodologies to enhance and guide learning. It is formative and it can include test data as well as other quantitative and even qualitative or descriptive data. Basically, in the assessment for learning, the test data is just one data element among others and the assessment process is constant rather than a single point in time.

To support teachers in the evaluation process, the six partners of Project ASSESS continue to work on the Online Exam Creator Platform in order to improve its potential and make it a valuable resource for EFL teachers. Exams covering the different linguistic skills, audio files, rubrics, worksheets, images, flashcards will be soon available to be used as formative or summative assessment and our Online Exam Creator will allow to create exams easily and quickly according to the learners’ level.

As part of the project activities, our partner from Greece, with experience in the training in the field of language education, is organizing a five-day training course whose main aim is to present the platform to EFL teachers from the partner countries but also, addressing the common problems and challenges in the assessment in EFL, in particular as regards speaking and writing assessment. The training will take place in Athens in the beginning of September.

The Benefits and Outcomes of Online Learning

Online education has been an issue since the internet started to become a crucial part of our lives. However, the outbreak of the virus forced this concept in our lives as an obligatory situation. 

All the nations throughout the world have been talking about it, yet no country was prepared for it thoroughly. The citizens of the world have learnt the “how to” part on the way. We managed to do it somehow, but what about the efficiency and the effect of online education and assessment?

As an instructor at a state university in Turkey, my experience has been quite positive in many ways which can be listed as below;

*Flexibility and Self-Paced Learning

      The difference among students in terms of learning pace has been vanished as all our lessons had been recorded and uploaded to the system beforehand. So, each student can go online and find the related video on the system and revise afterwards or prepare before the class hour at any time s/he is available.

*Better Time Management

     As an instructor, I could easily complain that most of the time, the class hour was interrupted by natural conversations; however, in online lessons 40 minutes were mostly used very effectively and all the talking was to the point. In time both teachers and students have learnt to use all the benefits of online meetings like break-out rooms, white board, multi-user screen sharing, annotation, etc. which enabled both parties to make use of the allocated time better.

*Varied Means of Learning

      In our online education experience, we experienced many different means which are called “web tools” used for educational purposes. We applied online quizzes for fun, software versions of the books and online workbooks that can be used like popular applications (in vocabulary and grammar especially), competitions and games that can facilitate learning in grammar and so on.

*Keeping up with the Developing Technology

      All the improvements in technology like applications, tutorials on Youtube, audiobooks, interactive games have made education seem like behind the zeitgeist. With an obligatory push, education especially in eastern countries had to keep up with developing technology which created a more appealing interface for education. We are free from getting old and rusty.

At the end of the semester, according to a survey held in Uludağ University (Bursa, Turkey), almost 80 percent of both teachers and students favour and stick up for online education for the above mentioned reasons. And with the data collected from that research, the School of Foreign Languages plans to carry out the education both face-to-face and online in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Online Exam Creator: A Perfect Guide for Teachers

Teaching professionals and students may find assessment challenging, but the benefits it delivers may be a helpful motivator. There are obvious advantages when it comes to variable delivery methods, adding web links, documents, photographs, and videos and enriching test material.

With the shift of technology, education made its way to move into online evaluation, whether corporate certification or assessment of training efficiency, an awarding body that seeks to move off paper or expand to a new market that creates a scalable end-of-course assessment.

Ensuring the ability of students to learn is critical in every setting. Teachers and instructors can monitor each student’s progress and offer more resources and assistance when required. In addition, regular testing helps instructors detect specific students’ weaknesses in their academic areas and enhances their subject matter and delivery.

Faculty and students can take exams whenever and wherever they want via web-based exams. A time-saving benefit of online testing is that results are automatically calculated and immediately delivered to both teacher and student. In addition, instructors and teachers can analyze results in real-time. Online Exam Creator (OEC) aims to suggest a usable scale construction model for application or adaptation in assessing the exam-based writing exercises. 

OEC has an easy-to-use rubric that can be used for A1 and A2 pupils learning English. 

The criteria are divided into a different description

  • Task Achievement (35 marks)
  • Language (Accuracy and range of grammar and vocabulary) (30 marks)
  • Organization (30 marks)

OEC provides time limitations, fast feedback, add media to questions, and precise marking. 

OEC made an effort to make this marking scheme functional and comprehensive in evaluating the young learners’ writing performance objectively and satisfy the markers’ needs. 

Online Exam Creator has several benefits. It is one of the best solutions for your organization to save time and streamline the learning process.

May Online Meeting

The project ASSESS, which is addressed to English teachers, continues its path. The partnership has had a meeting today to discuss topics regarding the training activity for English teachers that will be carried out next September in Greece, the handbook about evaluation of students and our Online Exam Creator which is almost ready. If you are an English teacher from Spain, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Finland or Germany and you want to participate in the training activity contact us through our Facebook page

Advantages & Disadvantages of Online Testing

What Are the Advantages of Online Exam Testing?

  • Efficiency

Online language testing offers teachers an efficient way to deliver tests to students. Online testing has a number of tools such as videos, PDFs, podcasts, and teachers can use all these tools as part of their lesson plans when it comes to testing. By extending the lesson plan beyond traditional testing methods, educational authorities are able to include online testing resources and as a result, teachers are able to become more efficient educators, too.

  • Accessibility of Time and Place

Another advantage of online language testing is that it allows students to do the tests from any location of their choice. It also allows schools to reach out to a more extensive network of students, instead of being restricted by geographical boundaries. Additionally, some types of online tests can be recorded, archived, and shared for future reference. This allows students to access the testing material at a time of their comfort. Thus, online learning offers students the accessibility of time and place in education.

  • Improved Student Participation  

Since online tests can be taken from home or location of choice, there are fewer chances of students missing out on testing sessions.

  • Suits a Variety of Learning Styles 

Every student has a different learning behaviour pattern and a different learning style. Some students are visual learners, while some students prefer to learn through audio. Similarly, some students thrive in the classroom testing while other students are solo learners who get distracted by large groups so for them online testing is a blessing. This is why the online testing system, with its range of options and resources, can be personalized in many ways. It is the best way to create a perfect testing and learning environment suited to the needs of each student.

What Are the Disadvantages of Online Testing?

  • Inability to Focus on Screens

For many students, one of the biggest challenges of online testing is the struggle with focusing on the screen for long periods of time. As in online learning, there is also a greater chance for students to be distracted by social media or other sites. Therefore, it is imperative for the teachers to keep their online testing engaging and interactive to help students stay focused on the test.

  • Technology Issues 

Another key challenge of online testing is internet connectivity. While internet availability has grown enormously grown over the past few years, in smaller cities and towns, a consistent connection with decent speed is a problem. Without a consistent internet connection for students or teachers, there can be a lack of continuity in testing a learner. This is detrimental to the education process.

  • Sense of Isolation 

Without doubt students can learn a lot from being in the company of their peers. However, in online testing and in particular in language testing, there are minimal physical interactions between students and teachers. As a result, there is a sense of isolation for the students. In this situation, it is very important that the school allows for other forms of communication between the students, peers, and teachers. This may include online messages, emails and video conferencing that will allow for face-to-face interaction, thus reducing the sense of isolation.

  • Teacher Training 

Online testing requires teachers to have a basic understanding of using digital forms of learning. However, this is not the case always. Very often, teachers have a very basic understanding of technology. Sometimes, they don’t even have the necessary resources and tools to conducts online classes and design online tests. To combat this, it is important for schools to invest in training teachers with the latest technology updates so that they can facilitate teachers in online testing planning. 

  • Manage Screen Time

Many parents are nowadays concerned about the health hazards of having their children spend so much time staring at a screen. Spending so may hours in front of a screen is one of the biggest concerns and disadvantages of online testing and online learning in general. Sometimes, students can also develop bad posture and other physical problems due to staying hunched in front of a screen.

Why is Offline Marketing Still Working Wonders in the Tech Age?

Look at what has been achieved!

Already we are in March and work has not slowed down for our Assess team. The Assess database now has full collections of illustrated worksheets, colourful flashcards with images and text, exams and rubrics to mark those exams.  A collection of images has been prepped and finalised by the partners.  All of this is now ready to be uploaded to the online exam tool which is currently being coded by the Spanish partner.  

Regardless of CoVid-19 restrictions, our meetings have taken place bi-weekly online.  We are hoping that restrictions will be lifted soon so that we can hold our Teaching, Training, Learning (TTL) event in Athens from the 30th of August to the 3rd of September 2021.

Regarding dissemination, our efforts have paid off with our Facebook page receiving 557 likes.  A three-minute explainer video has been produced with subtitles in all partner languages.  The video will be used to disseminate the project to all partner networks. You can watch the video here

Fighting for a quality education with ASSESS

The beginning of 2021 has been a bit disconcerting, the continuous incidents happening all over the world as well as the coming of the third wave of COVID-19 is making our lives different and difficult. All these changes show us that the world must be prepared for a different future, and this starts with our education. Quality education is one of the global goals for sustainable development in Unite 2030, since it is the basis for the prosperity of everyone. The project ASSESS works for getting an innovation in the way of assessing students.

The Online Exam Creator, which is our main product, is being developed by Inercia Digital along with the collaboration of Learnmera Oy. While this product is being created, the rest of partners are working creating rubrics for the assessment of all the exams that will be available in the OEC for teachers. This tool will let teachers have the opportunity to have exams, worksheets, scales, images and games for using in their lessons. 

The partners will also create a guide for teachers explaining how to use this tool, moreover, a number of 30 teachers will be trained to use this tool. If you are an English teacher from Spain, Finland, Portugal, Turkey, Greece or Germany we invite you to participate in this innovative project.

ASSESS – BLOG / JANUARY 2021

With 2021 finally here, we wanted to take a moment and share a few thoughts concerning the assessment of the productive skills (speaking and writing). This is a quite complex task.

There are so many traits and competences that can be assessed: fluency, accuracy, complexity of language, vocabulary richness and/or range, acquisition of specific vocabulary, language chunks or grammar structures, content/ideas and details provided, sequencing or organization of ideas… and, how to measure all these traits/competences? How wide should each trait be for L1 or L2 learners at different stages of proficiency? Should we prioritize competences in the assessment of learner proficiency or should they all be weighted in the same way? What type of tasks should be used to assess learners’ speaking and writing proficiency? How often should productive skills be assessed?

The answers to all these questions are essential to the development of any effective approach to the assessment of proficiency in the productive skills. However, with so many approaches that exist, teachers often feel confused and frustrated when it comes to evaluate English Foreign Language Learners and create effective and valid rating scales. 

Taking into account teachers’ difficulties and needs, the project ASSESS aims to define innovative methods and tools for the assessment of EFL learners. On the basis of approaches that already exist, the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), a range of information sources and data that was collected and analysed through questionnaires addressed to teachers, the project ASSESS will provide a handbook to suggest a usable scale construction model for application or adaptation in assessing speaking and writing exams, easily and in a reliable way. The objective is to contribute to the improvement of teachers’ skills in preparing reliable rating scales, allowing them to give a trait specific feedback according to different levels of achievement. Providing constructive feedback on speaking and writing (strengths and needs) is essential for helping students improve their skills.

In addition, in the web portal, speaking and writing exams will be complemented with an example of assessment scale ready to use or adapt.

We founded ASSESS project to help teachers find innovative tools for assessing English Foreign Language Learners. Our mission is being realized. We are eager to bring inspiration and innovation to foster good practices and facilitate the evaluation process.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT IN DISTANCE EDUCATION

  The COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut across the world.Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the class.As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology.Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in the usage of distance learning environments and e-evaluation techniques in education. It is believed that the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and online education will eventually become an integral component of school education. Even after coronavirus, traditional offline learning and e-learning will go hand by hand. There are, however, challenges to overcome.

 Important studies and projects are being carried out in order to make distance education effective and efficient.However, there are deficiencies related to e-EVALUATION, which is one of the sub-components of Distance Education. Teachers all around the world are having difficulty in keeping up with this new process.The unplanned and rapid move to online learning – with no training and little preparation – has resulted in a poor user experience in assessment.Teachers are sometimes having to use unfamiliar technologies while at the same time figuring out how to effectively instruct students who may not be very engaged in an online environment. Similarly, students and their families may be frustrated by the technology and the demands created by Distance Education.To cope with these challenges, formative assessment , an ongoing process used by teachers during learning and teaching to provide feedback of student learning to improve student understanding of intended learning outcomes and support them to become self-directed learners,is a recommended solution.

 Therefore,the aim of ASSESS project is to identify a sustainable online education and assessment platform in which English Language Teachers can find ready and quality content on the basis of curriculum and evaluate their students constantly with Formative Assessment strategies by interacting on the platform.

To get more information watch our video! 

Motivating and Engaging Students During the Pandemic

Covid-19 pandemic has forced many students to home-school around the world. In many countries, schools are closed, extracurricular activities are canceled and big gatherings are not allowed. Both learning and interaction with peers have to take place online and that switch to virtual sphere has varying impacts on students. 

In order to shed a light on learners’ experience during the pandemic, Cambridge University Press has conducted a survey that reached out to English language learners from various countries around the world. According to the survey results, “Together with time management and communication, learners felt that keeping up their motivation under the new conditions was among their top 3 challenges”.  [Read More].

Motivation is an issue not only for the learners, but also for the teachers; motivating their students during the pandemic is one of the biggest challenges that education professionals experience at the moment.

The top three suggestions for motivating students in online learning, given by the language researcher and writer Dr. Heike Krüsemann, includes giving students feasible goals and opportunities to succeed;  increasing students’ “say” in the learning process; and encouraging peer-to-peer as well as learner-teacher communication [Read More]. This video, a talk made with Dr. Krüsemann, also gives tips on online teaching, as well as motivating and engaging students.