I've been having great success using Moodle for formative assessment.  Moodle's quiz engine allows you granualar control over assessments, from high-stakes one-shot tests to non-graded, multi-attempt self-quizzes.  The format I use most often is a practice quiz that allows students to score each item as they take the test, trying over again for partial credit if they don't get the item correct.  If I have the time while making up the test, I can enter feedback on the question or individual choices within the question as to why a choice is correct or not.  I can even enter different feedback for different conditions, such as when the student gets the entire question correct, only part of the question correct, or gets the entire question wrong.
In addition to fine tuning individual questions as to their level of adaptability, I can allow the student to take the test multiple times, control the amount of time the student needs to wait between attempts (to avoid retakes that rely on short-term memory recall) and choose whether the highest grade of all attempts will be recorded or the various attempts averaged in together.  Within the test, I can select a wide variety of different item types, including advanced question types that include a variety of different types of questions within the same item.
Moodle has even more advanced ways that their quiz engine can be used, such as within the lesson module.  A lesson presents material and then selects a branch of the lesson, based on the student's response to quiz items that are embedded right into a lesson page.  Based on student performance, you can allow her to move on, send her back to repeat a section of the lesson, or send her off on a different branch, entirely.
Moodle also has some advanced question types for math that allow you to create a question that will be presented with different vaues each time it is presented.  You can also control the precision required in the answer by selecting ranges of values, even altering the score, based on the level of accuracy of the student's response.
In addition to quizzes and lessons, Moodle provides other resources that can be used for formative assessment, such as forums, wikis, blogs and journals.  We've used forums extensively for peer review, and I almost always setup assignments so that students can resubmit them, incorporating feedback from peers or myself.
With Moodle being a tool any Vermont teacher can access for free, either through Global Schoolhouse or your own server, it's definitely a tool for formative assessment worth investigating.  My students ask for it by name!  When was the last time your kids asked you to give them a test?
Stephen Barner
South Burlington High School
550 Dorset Street
South Burlington, VT 05403
(802) 652-7015
(802) 652-7013 (Fax)
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"When we study music, we practice... because there is no other way to become a musician. Neither can we become engineers by just studying a textbook, because practical experience is needed to correlate the so-called theory with practice." Charles Franklin Kettering


From: School Information Technology Discussion on behalf of Lauren Parren
Sent: Fri 2/20/2009 9:32 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: formative assessment

We are working on our tech plan.  Does anyone have good examples for using technology for formative assessment?  We've mentioned "clickers" for smartboard-type devices, and I mentioned using wikis via email notification.  What else are people envisioning over the next 3 years?


Lauren Kelley Parren
ANESU Educational Technology Coordinator
Mt. Abraham Portfolio Coordinator
802-453-2333 x 1119

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