When designing a system for online testing the following questions will need to be considered:
1. If the results of online tests are to lead to formal accreditation, how should they be administrated?
2. Should it be possible to do tests which do not lead to formal accreditation as well as those which do?
3. Should tests auto-adjust so that if students get many questions wrong easier questions appear?
4. Will the teacher be able to specify which questions should appear on the test?
5. Will the teacher be able to print paper tests?
6. Will criteria be accredited based on a single correct answer, a variety of correct answers, correct answers sustained over time, correct answers in contextualised or connected questions....
7. How will results be viewed and how will this interface with skills which cannot be effectively tested online?
Companies which are already well established in this field include:
Khan Academy :
Originally designed for teaching using YouTube videos rather than for testing and tracking, Khan Academy has set up a substantial infrastructure for online testing and tracking to work in parallel with its videos. Khan Academy covers many subject areas to a very high level and is well resourced, so it is likely that schools and educators with limited resources will use it, but it does not interface with other student teaching and tracking resources and it may be weak in the specific teaching area which is most important to a group of students.
MyMaths is well known for its high quality interactive teaching resources. It is very popular in UK schools and has a substantial tracking infrastructure which teachers can use to rapidly see the progress of all their students with their tests and homeworks in specific subject areas. However the tracking is by lesson rather than by specific learning point and only maths is available. MyMaths was rapidly adopted by word of mouth because at an annual subscription of only around £400/year per school it was within the budget of a typical secondary school maths department.
Alfiesoft differs from the products above because its design and emphasis starts from testing rather than teaching, so its designers have thought in more detail about the questions at the top of this blog rather than focusing on creating a system to assess an already designed system of online teaching. Alfiesoft has an interface with SIMS. It covers maths, English and science but it does not link to an online teaching system.
Assessing students up to the age of 14 – A better future QUICK LINKS
Part 5: more about online testing
Part 6: central tracking of progress
Part 7: supporting diversity
Part 8: student behaviour management