We want our students to do well on the class final, department final, school district final, state final or national final. However, often it is not what our students know but how they will be tested that determines their grade.
Here are some techniques to use technology to help prepare students for finals so that they can perform well.
1) Give them self-correcting online assessments that mimic parts of the final. For example, students can do several reading comprehension passages in a program like Quia. The program instantly tells them whether they are right or wrong. You can build in hints/strategies so that the students can learn how to get the answer correct such as “Answer the question word ‘Where’ with a place.”
2) Have a wiki where students can post comments on their strategies for doing well in each section of the test. One student might write “(For the reading passage) I underline the question word in the question and then I underline the answer in the passage.”
3) Have a texting-based program for the class where anyone can text questions as they do final practice activities. Other students can explain how to get the answer. For example, one student texts “Can’t figure out the answer to ‘When do they go to the movies?”‘ since no time is given. and another student responds, “After eating supper tells when something happens; after is a time word.”
4) Use a Power-Point like program that not only quizzes students but then sends them to appropriate online resources if they have incorrect answers. For example, if students incorrectly identify a math problem, the PowerPoint shows them to a math video explaining that concept.
5) Identify the most common errors that students will make on the learning goals in the final and have the students, in groups, prepare a short one to two minute video explaining those concepts. They can make these videos not as full explanations but as cheat-sheet videos in which they emphasize the most critical parts. For example, Spanish students may review how to ask questions in the preterite tense in the “you” form and how to answer them in the “yo” form and they may review the most common verbs such as “to go” to get ready for a speaking final. They can post these on the school server so that other can access the videos whenever they want.
6) Use a QR code to send them to a Google Form short 5-10 item quiz based on a final test section. As soon as the students finish the mini-quiz, show them the class (not individual) results and go over, in class, strategies to overcome the common mistakes that students made.
Do you know now how your students will do on the final? Use technology to assess them and help them improve.
Harry Grover Tuttle teaches English and Spanish college courses at Onondaga Community College and blogs at Education with Technology. He is also the author of several books on formative assessment.