Dynamic Data and Assessment

As leaders in technology integration, school librarians are asked to curate resources for not only research and knowledge creation, but also for use in assessment. This is an area of collaboration that may be new to both teachers and librarians. According to Buffy Hamilton, teacher and librarian collaboration is often difficult especially when classroom teachers have little experience in a co-teaching instructional environment. Ultimately, however, the goal is to “address student learning needs in a richer and more meaningful way for students” (https://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/tag/formative-assessment/).

Technology can be extremely valuable in assisting with formative assessment; providing both student data and indication of content mastery. Technology resources providing immediate feedback to students and teachers allow for adjustments to instruction and pacing in real time. However, when technology is not available, there are strategies that can be used to gather data on student understanding.

No-Tech Strategies

Sticky notes are a great tool for having students share answers, thoughts, and prior knowledge on curricular concepts. The notes can be placed on a white board or window and referred to throughout the lesson. White boards and plastic plates with erasable markers are also tools for sharing answers to math or objective knowledge questions. A quick look at the boards displayed by students at their desks gives the teacher a good indication of the mastery of a fundamental concept. Finally, a strategy for allowing students to indicate their understanding or comfort with a concept individually or in groups is the use of colored cups. Red can indicate the need for assistance, yellow can indicate some struggle but continued effort, and green can indicate mastery.

Some of the no-technology strategies for assessment can be found as digital tools, making the assessment process more engaging for students. There are a few tried and true free resources that are reliable and have stood the test of time. These tools also offer quick, teachable moments in digital citizenship and appropriate use of technology in a collaborative environment. A brief detour to discuss and review examples and non-examples in a collaborative discussion supports constructive use of technology. This saves instructional time and allows the discussion to proceed with expectations for use in place.

Low-Stress Tech Strategies

One way to encourage teachers to integrate technology into their workflow is through the use of exit tickets and bell work. This method works for teachers who aren’t familiar with technology and avoids an interruption in the pacing of the lesson and the flow of the classroom.

Padlet (https://padlet.com/)

Padlet is a useful resource as a bell work and exit ticket assessment strategy. Very similar to the sticky note strategy, this tool allows students to work in a digital collaborative environment in real time. Teachers can start the class with some discussion on a topic, activating prior knowledge. For example, prior to introducing a digital presentation tool, students in a sixth grade class discussed what they disliked about traditional book reports. Students then returned to the Padlet board at the end of the class to reflect on their own assessment of what they had learned. A Padlet board was also used to begin discussion of what students already knew about the research process prior to learning about smart searching, databases, and citations.

As students access the digital board, they create their own note, share an answer or thought, and watch the board populate with class answers. This provides the teacher with an “at a glance” assessment of where students are with a particular concept. In the discussion on research, it is possible to see at a glance what students know about research resources and how to use them. Cynthia uses this strategy to assess what students have learned in prior years and what concepts need review.

Padlet is available as a web-based resource and a free app, which provides wide flexibility for districts with many types of devices. One of the things Cynthia likes about this format is how it provides scaffolding for those who are struggling. Through the collaborative environment, students have the ability to look at posted answers and find their way. The transition in and out of the activity can be simplified by creating a shortened URL or a QR code linking to the Padlet board. Cynthia notes that she always begins this activity with a brief discussion on expectations and appropriate use.

Socrative (http://www.socrative.com/)

Another multi-platform resource similar to Padlet is Socrative. We have found Socrative to be effective for grades two through post-secondary. Socrative offers ease of access, teacher-prepared quizzes, and races, as well as quick question response. The open response options in this tool also provide an opportunity for a digital citizenship discussion on appropriate use. We used Socrative with students in grades two, three, and four to review library and research skills each quarter. The immediate feedback option was extremely motivating for students who struggled to learn concepts. Each time they completed a quiz and received increased positive feedback, their excitement and sense of accomplishment increased.

Teachers have their own account where they manage quizzes and activities while students have an alternate portal requiring only the teacher’s room identification to enter an activity. Data is obtained by the teacher in real time or through a report that is provided to the teacher after the activity.

Google Forms/Quizzes (see https://support.google.com/docs/answer/7032287?hl=en)

Google Forms are a great way to administer a quick assessment on concepts in a multiple choice platform. Previously, the Flubaroo add-on was used to auto-correct form submissions and provide data on questions missed and average scores. This process is now built into Forms. After closing the assessment, teachers have valuable data for each student, as well as question quality and concept mastery.

Interactive Presentations

When presenting or reviewing new information with students, monitoring comprehension is vital to ensuring students are understanding the concepts being presented and to making impactful instructional decisions. Lynn loves using Nearpod (https://nearpod.com/) and Pear Deck (https://www.peardeck.com/) to embed formative assessments into presentations already being utilized as part of instruction in the classroom.

Real-time formative assessments allow educators to make immediate instructional decisions. The free versions of both Nearpod and Pear Deck allow educators to create presentations, upload existing presentations, or, in the case of Nearpod, to search a library of shared presentations, then add additional content, such as videos, images, or activities (paid versions of both tools allow for additional content). Many of the activities not only enhance the presentations by making them interactive, but also allow educators to monitor student understanding. Activities such as polls, quizzes, interactive drawings, and open-ended questions provide students with an opportunity to interact with the information and to share their thinking.

Both Nearpod and Pear Deck presentations are controlled from the educator account. Students access the presentation via a website (Nearpod is also available as an app) with an access code. Formative assessment data is shared with the educator immediately. This data can be shared with the group as a whole to reinforce learning, examine shared understanding, or address misconceptions. Both Nearpod and Pear Deck allow for data to be saved or downloaded for further analysis.

We have used both tools while presenting information on everything from digital citizenship to citations. The interactive presentations keep students engaged, while activities such as the polls, open-ended questions, and multiple choice questions help to ensure that students understand the key concepts being presented and allow them to apply the learning in real time.

Interactive Assessments

While gathering data is important, so too is providing students with immediate feedback. Both Kahoot! and Quizizz provide students with immediate results in an interesting and interactive way.

Kahoot! (https://getkahoot.com/)

Kahoot! is a free formative assessment tool that can be used from any device (in the computer lab, on laptops, on Chromebooks, or on tablets). Educators create their own assessments or search for previously created assessments. Any assessment can be shared publicly or shared directly with other educators with Kahoot! accounts, making Kahoot! a great option for common formative assessments as well. The library of public Kahoots! (those created and shared by others) span a range of grade levels and curricular areas.

Teachers control the quiz from their device. Quiz questions appear on the teacher’s screen, while the answer options appear on the students’ devices. After each question, students are shown if their answer was correct, as well as their rank in the class, which is based on points earned for speed and accuracy. Kahoot! also has options for discussions and surveys. Results from the quizzes, discussions, and surveys can be saved and analyzed for additional instructional decisions.

Quizizz (https://quizizz.com/)

Quizizz is another free formative assessment tool available online. Much like Kahoot!, teachers can choose from a library of publicly shared pre-existing quizzes or create their own. Students receive immediate feedback as to the accuracy of their answers and can compete with classmates based upon the speed and accuracy of their answers.

Quizizz has several options that differ from Kahoot! Although quizzes are activated from the teacher account, questions and answers appear on the student screens. Question and answer order can be randomized, to ensure the reliability of data. Quizzes can also be assigned as homework for students to complete outside of class and it seamlessly integrates with Google Classroom.

We have used both Kahoot! and Quizizz to review everything from library expectations to citations and supported staff implementation for all curricular subjects.

Leading the Way

As more and more schools across the nation take the Future Ready pledge, the librarian’s role in supporting all aspects of instruction, including assessment, has become even more critical. With the knowledge and use of a wide variety of formative assessment tools, school librarians can deepen collaboration with classroom teachers to ensure more rich and meaningful instruction for all students.

About the Authors

Cynthia Stogdill is a middle school librarian who loves reading, technology, and gently shaking the world with new ideas. On Twitter, she is a co-founder of the Nebraska Education Chat and the Midwest Librarian Chat. She is also a University of Nebraska-Omaha Adjunct Faculty Instructor. She has presented on Google Apps for Education, Twitter for Librarians, Social Media Branding, and Technology Tools in Assessment.

Lynn Kleinmeyer is the teacher librarian at Titan Hill Intermediate, Council Bluffs' (IA) Lewis Central School District. She also oversees the library and library instructional services for Lewis Central’s Kreft Primary. Prior to becoming the teacher librarian, Kleinmeyer taught 7th grade reading for thirteen years and continues her work with Young Adult Literature as a University of Nebraska-Omaha Adjunct Professor. She is the co-founder of #mwlibchat, a Twitter chat dedicated to empowering and inspiring teacher librarians. Kleinmeyer believes strongly in advocating for #FutureReady librarianship.

Select Citation Style:
Stogdill, Cynthia, and Lynn Kleinmeyer. "Dynamic Data and Assessment." School Library Connection, April 2017, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2071407.
Stogdill, Cynthia, and Lynn Kleinmeyer. "Dynamic Data and Assessment." School Library Connection, April 2017. http://schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2071407.
Stogdill, C., and Kleinmeyer, L. (2017, April). Dynamic data and assessment. School Library Connection. Retrieved from http://schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2071407

Entry ID: 2071407

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