Correction, Feedback and Evaluation: Inspiring Practices and AddICTive Tools
Table of Contents
- Overview: Essential Factors to Consider
- In Pedagogical Practice: A Plethora of Possibilities!
- Essential Resources For the College Network
- References by topic
In January 2011, the Cégep de Granby hosted a pedagogical activity for teachers called “Correction-rétroaction-évaluation : et si c’était sympaTIC?” The workshop was a great success. Fast-forward to fall 2016 and all the stars were in alignment for the Cégep de Granby to work with Profweb to produce an In-depth report on the same theme, which has become more topical than ever! Six years after its first edition, a similar workshop was offered to the teachers at Granby in January 2017, with the same enthusiastic response. We hope that this report will be just as useful to the entire college network.
Our report explores the potential of the tools and technologies available to support learning evaluation and it focuses on methods college teachers have tested. It also invites readers to consider a few essential factors in the choice of strategies and tools, to review interesting ideas such as feedback and formative evaluation and to reflect on the student’s role in the evaluation and learning process. Lots of resources are suggested to make it easier to implement the host of options featured here.
This report will help you to discover or learn more about:
- Digital correction and in-progress assignment monitoring: electronic assignment submission, correction with digital tools (such as correcting with the iPad), collaborative editing of online documents and automated marking rubrics
- Audio and video feedback: screen captures, recorders and videoconferencing
- Digital quizzes and tests: online tests, clickers and surveys
Overview: Essential Factors to Consider
Before diving head first into new methods or practices, it is important to take into consideration the value of using or including technology in evaluation, as much for the student as for the teacher. A teacher’s choices must consider needs and anticipated benefits, as well as various factors.
The Evolution of Evaluation
Barely a decade ago, the red pen was the most common correction tool, and few teachers ventured into the use of technology for evaluation. But that has all changed today, largely since tools and materials have developed at a blistering pace: software and online applications, platforms and digital learning environments, tablets, smartpens, mobile devices such as touch tablets, laptops and smartphones, styluses and much more!
Today’s technology also allows us to teach, learn and evaluate, anytime and anywhere. Frédéric Dulac’s article explaining his correction technique with video tutorials on iPads (in French) is a good example of how that potential can be tapped. The accessibility and performance of wireless networks and the growth of the cloud are also factors in the development of this rich, connected environment. And, of course, teachers’ ICT skills continue to develop, which makes it easier to adopt new tools and experiment with new strategies. In short, there is a favourable wind that will help us to ensure that we put technology to work in service of our evaluations!
Evaluating takes time: in the classroom, in the office, at home, sometimes even at the cottage or in the bleachers of a sports event. So it’s no surprise that teachers are often looking for ways to save time. Technology can be particularly seductive in this regard. But is this a fact or an illusion?
One thing is certain, you won’t start off by saving time. Every new technique has its own learning curve , with a length that depends on the complexity of the tool and the experience of the user. Once the technique has been tested and mastered, you may save time, but not necessarily. In some cases, the value can be found in the pedagogical benefits. Audio and video feedback are a good example of this. In other cases, the time savings may be real. Using self-corrected online quizzes may prove to be very viable for the teacher and beneficial for the students. Some situations save time for teachers and students by cutting out travel time or attendance, such as electronic assignment submission or meetings by videoconference. Finally, some strategies use classroom time, such as the use of clickers, but these often replace other types of activities.
Every case is unique, and for each new technique, it may be a good idea to assess the time factor from different angles:
- Time invested for initial learning
- Time required for new recurring tasks
- Time in class
- Time saved for the teacher
- Impact on student’s time
- Return on investment in the longer term
- Time investment vs. collateral benefits
Pedagogical and Professional Benefits
Evaluating is not correcting. There are all sorts of subtleties in evaluation. Whether it is formative or summative evaluation, feedback, peer evaluation or self-evaluation, whether it is for a short written assignment or a program’s integrative project, every component of the student’s learning path deserves to be carefully analysed for quality. Technology may sometimes have a beneficial boost to offer.
The techniques suggested in this report generally offer pedagogical benefits that justify the time invested:
- Quality of the feedback
- Increased motivation
- Playful nature of the activities
- Facilitates catering to different learner types and tailored support
- Better screening of struggling students
- Monitoring the progress of teams
- “Just-in-time” interactions
- Increased level of interactivity
- And so on
In some cases, the techniques offer significant benefits for professional operations :
- Task efficiency
- Less paper to lug around
- Return on investment of time
- Improved mobility
Any new method requires some research, experimentation and adaptation time. You have to find the right tool and the right recipe, acquire the required techniques and adjust the process to suit. Fortunately, the IT Rep and IT service at your college can lend you a hand during this stage.
The fast pace of technological advancement means you have come to terms with the idea that the technique you choose will undoubtedly continue to change over time. It is also a good idea to assume that technological difficulties may arise without warning. It is therefore wise to have a Plan B ready, whenever possible.
The Teacher’s Profile
Your profile has a big influence on your capacity to make your evaluation practices IT-friendly.
- How much do you enjoy testing new approaches and learning new tools?
- Are you comfortable in a digital environment?
- Can you live with unpredictability or imperfections?
- Are you constantly adapting your teaching methods or do you tend to gravitate toward the tried-and-true?
- What do you feel is the value of feedback and formative evaluation?
Be aware of your personality and set realistic goals!
Course Context and Student Profile
The characteristics of your courses and students may also influence the scope of a new techno-pedagogical evaluation strategy or your angle of approach.
- How many students do you teach?
- In how many different courses?
- What type of assignments do you correct?
- What types of evaluations will you need to set up?
- Where does the course sit within the program?
- What role does the particular assignment have in the session?
- What ICT skills do your students have?
One strategy may work in all your courses, while another may only be useful in a few situations. Some methods may prove unrealistic, depending on the number of exams you have to correct or the scope of the assignments to evaluate. It’s important to consider all these issues before diving in.
The Need to Make Choices
In Pedagogical Practice: A Plethora of Possibilities explores different settings and tools that can support your evaluation activities, but it’s not about applying all these techniques all the time, for every course and at every evaluation opportunity!
Each technique should be used:
- In the right situation
- If it suits your personality
- In keeping with the scale and type of evaluation
- In balance with the benefit sought
- Taking the time factor into account
Moreover, the baby steps approach is always a good idea.
In Pedagogical Practice: A Plethora of Possibilities!
Each of the proposed strategies is the subject of a distinct article, in which we present:
- An overview of its pertinence and usage
- Tools to consider
- Advantages and disadvantages
- Resources for inspiration
Link to the article: AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Digital Marking and Annotation
Summary: The penetration rate of digital learning environments in colleges, combined with access to powerful workstations for teachers, has very rapidly democratized digital correction practices. In the article, we present 3 different facets of digital correction and offer some suggestions on how to make the most of them:
- Electronic assignment submission
- Digital correction tools
- Rubrics and related tools
In-Progress Assignment Monitoring
Link to the article: AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Monitoring In-Progress Assignments
Summary: When students have to complete an assignment or project of a certain scale or over a relatively long period of time, ongoing monitoring is often provided to support them and give them feedback as they advance. This is accomplished more easily when students use technology to produce their work.
To complement this section, we encourage you to read the feedback and digital correction tools sections.
Audio and Video Feedback
Link to the article: AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Audio and Video Feedback
Summary: Feedback plays an essential role in student success, but it must be given in the right way and at the right time.
Audio or video feedback uses multimedia tools to provide feedback to a student or team of students about an assignment, exam results or a project. It can be audio only or audio and video combined.
The Digital Correction Tools and In-Progress Assignment Monitoring articles offer strategies and resources for marking, annotating and adding comments to digital documents, so you can provide written feedback.
Link to the article: AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Online Quizzes
Summary: Computerized quizzes have been used for many years and they are now garnering growing interest. Beyond their pedagogical benefits, their popularity is not unrelated to their clear capacity to save correction time thanks to automated correction. Some teachers plan far fewer formative evaluations than they might wish to because of the related burden of correcting and providing feedback. Online quizzes can offer some relief.
Link to the article: AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Clickers
Summary:Clickers offer lots of simple options for moderation and feedback. They are generally associated with large-group activities that offer access to results in real time. This kind of activity fosters student engagement and supports active learning strategies.
Students in the Evaluation (and Learning) Process
Link to the article: AddICTive Tools for Evaluation: Collaborative and Self-Evaluation
Summary: Remember all those times you corrected your neighbour’s test in elementary school or high school? Perhaps you use this method with your students for simple knowledge tests. Besides reducing the burden of correction for the teacher, it gets the students involved in the process, and group correction can encourage and enhance review. Peer feedback and correction can be excellent learning strategies.
There is a wide variety of strategies and tools to support evaluation efforts with technology. There is something to suit almost every taste and every situation, so you’ll undoubtedly find something that works for you:
- Dare to change. Explore and test widely!
- Stay informed about workshops and professional development opportunities in the network (APOP, AQPC Annual Symposium, Performa and discipline-specific activities).
- If need be, contact the IT Rep at your college. They will definitely know how to guide and support you in your efforts.
Essential Resources For the College Network
We have provided a series of additional references to expand on the theme of technology-supported evaluation. Some of the following are not explicitly technology-related, but we wanted to suggest a few theoretical readings on evaluation, especially as it relates to correction, feedback, formative evaluation and the students’ role in evaluation, which are all relevant to the topics discussed in this report.
You will also find useful references (mainly accounts of practices) for each topic of the section In Pedagogical Practice, under “Resources suggested by the author.”
APOP (Association pour les applications pédagogiques de l’ordinateur au post-secondaire)
- The EducApps directory offers comparative charts to help select the most appropriate mobile app to capture audio input, annotate digital documents or create a quiz.
- APOP also offers introductory and advanced workshops on digital evaluation and feedback questions. Check the Profweb activity calendar to find out about upcoming workshops.
AQPC (Association québécoise de pédagogie collégiale)
- Pédagogie collégiale is a journal that offers articles and pedagogical reflections on evaluation practices. A few are suggested below.
- The AQPC Annual Symposium is a first-rate event for professional development. Every year, evaluation and ICTs figure prominently among the themes of the workshops offered.
CCDMD (Centre collégial de développement de matériel didactique)
- Netquiz Web is a web application for creating and publishing formative online quizzes and providing feedback to the user. First steps: Read the article Netquiz web, questionnaires en ligne (in French) to help you understand and adopt this digital tool. It also provides examples of pedagogical use, for inspiration. Members of the college network can get a free copy at http://netquiz.profweb.ca.
CDC (Centre de documentation collégiale)
- With a few clicks on the ÉDUQ database, you can access a whole set of documentary resources on the topics covered here (studies, scientific articles, conference notes).
- The DECclic Corporation hosts and maintains the digital Moodle environment for over 40 institutions in the college network. Moodle has a lot to offer in terms of evaluation practices, and this report has presented several relevant functions (Assignment, Test and Workshop, Rubric, PoodLL feedback, PDF feedback, etc.). First steps: Read the article on Moodle to help you understand and adopt this digital tool.
- Performa offers professional development programs to the teaching staff from its member institutions. ICT evaluation and integration are common topics among the courses that are offered. Check the program of activities and talk to your local PERFORMA representative.
- Profweb provides a multitude of practical and inspiring articles about the strategies, concepts and tools presented in this report. A few are suggested under the Resources for Inspiration heading in each section.
REPTIC (Réseau des répondantes et répondants TIC)
- The REPTIC network brings together, moderates and supports the IT pedagogical integration leaders in the college network. The IT Representative from your college is generally well-equipped to help you adopt a new strategy, choose a tool or experiment with new evaluation methods.