Go To Quiz allows users to create free online polls, quizzes and tests. My favorite feature, however, is the ability to create multi-answer quizzes--for example, which Harry Potter character are you? This turned out to be a big hit with my students, many of which create Time Machine-inspired quizzes for quiz-takers to find out if they are Morlocks or Eloi. The only drawback is that, because the service is free, there are a lot of ads that pop up on their website. I also hope that, in the future, they offer an embed code so that quizzes can be directly embedded into websites. Still, creating a quiz is a creative alternative book project, and the price (did I mention that it's free?) can't be beat!
Catpin Productions offers a free bubble sheet generator for educators. I'll admit, I'm not the world's biggest supporter of multiple-choice-only tests, but for a quick assessment, they can be a wonderful thing and when it comes to the world of standardized testing, they are an absolute necessity. The problem that I've run into in the past with standardized test prep is that Scantron does not offer a form that is set up in the same way that the ACT bubble sheet is formatted (alternating ABCDE with FGHJK). Also, I like the option to create only the number of questions as the actual test contains; it tends to minimize the frequency of student error if there won't be any extra unused answer lines.
Now, I know some people will argue that creating these bubble sheets will be a grading nightmare, but I assure you that each sheet can be graded in about 15 seconds as long as you have an old school-style overhead projector. Just create an answer key by filling in the bubbles with a red pen. Then, place the answer key on the projector; light will be shining up through the paper. Next, place a student-filled bubble sheet on top of the answer key. Any incorrect answers will show a red mark; all correct answers will have the red mark from your answer key hidden by the student's answers (as long as the two pieces of paper are lined up correctly). Note: This is also a wonderful way to save time when grading word searches, as some students think teachers check to see which words are crossed off the list, rather than which words are actually circled.
Note: While you are on Catpin's website, check out the card trick--it's uncanny!
For more information on creating bubble sheets, check out my post on Grade Cam HERE.
Or, to create paperless tests, view my post on Classmarker HERE.
According to their website, Grade Cam is "online software that allows teachers to scan grades directly into the gradebook that they are already using." Today was my first day "test driving" GradeCam. I chose one of my English I classes to be my guinea pigs, figuring that if it didn't work well, I wouldn't have invested too much time. I used the free software, along with a Scantron-type bubble sheet that I printed off the website, and an inexpesive webcam that I already had in my classroom. Total cost: FREE. With Gradecam, students were able to scan their own quizzes when they were finished, and get instant feedback, including their overall score, and a list of questions that they missed. Grades were immediately recorded for me in a GradeCam account. I haven't figured out how to upload grades into my school's program yet, but the company claims that it can do just that--amazing! One feature that I like about this software is that, as a teacher, I can go back and view an itemized list of test scores, showing me which questions students missed the most and showing me the frequency of each answer option. This can help me see what concepts I need to review further, or what questions on the test are "bad" questions that confused students and might need to be reworded. Overall, GradeCam is priced just right (free) and is relatively easy to use. My students liked the immediate feedback, and I liked the in-depth results analysis. Now, if only Grade Cam could grade my persuasive essays...
Classmarker allows the user to create online tests and quizzes. Several formats are available (multiple choice, multiple response, true/false, correct punctuation, etc.) and quizzes are graded instantly and saved for the teacher to retrieve. Students can immediately get their test results and view the questions that they missed. Tests can be timed, and settings include options to randomize the order of both the questions and the answer options, so no two tests are exactly the same. Tests can also be printed for students who prefer a hard copy.
One of my amazing, tech-savvy coworkers presented a workshop about Quizlet at a district in-service last spring, but I did not take the time to try it for myself until recently. This website is a great tool; I could see it being priceless for RtI and Special Education students who need accommodations, as well as any student who wants to know how to better prepare for tests and quizzes. Quizlet allows you to create your own flashcards (which I have used Flash Card Machine to do before). Where Quizlet surpasses other online flash card generators is in its ability to take the flash cards that you create and turn them into practice quizzes and games. It also offers the option to print flash cards. Once the teacher has created a set, he or she can supply students with a URL for direct access; or, you can have students collaborate to create their own cards.
Note: Apparently, Flash Card Machine has added a lot of new features, including printing options, quizzes, and an ipod app.
Jessica Pilgreen is a high school English teacher, a Piasa Bluffs Writing Project fellow, and a technology enthusiast. The main purpose of this blog is to help her keep track of all of the fabulous tools out there that she has encountered, but if she can help a few others along the way, that's good, too.