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Reducing Paperwork: Web-Based Assessments

written by: David Graham Farnsworth • edited by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas • updated: 7/12/2012

Inclusive educational software evaluations document student achievement through portfolio formats, checklists, custom reports and the ability to add comments. Student portfolios are maintained in electronic format to get an electronic snapshot or picture of collective learner progress.

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    Tools to Evaluate Student Needs

    The most up-to-date assessment tools to evaluate a student's needs and abilities in the inclusive classroom remain in the educational software category. Teachers' days of traipsing through mountains of student-evaluation reports (often offering a limiting and misleading view of capabilities) are over. Today the advent of computer-generated evaluations makes assessment easy. Wide varieties of these paperwork-reducing software evaluations are Web-based online with no need for installed hardware or software. No training is required, which lessens technological stress for teachers and parents. Flexible and easily accessible technological augmentation supplies a quick, uniform and systematized method to analyze and present student evaluations

    Instructors only need the most recent Adobe Flash player to identify at-need students and customize individual lesson plans to further improve the quality of teaching and evaluation. Gauging the skills of learners through software evaluations assesses individual proficiency and need. This assures learners remain on the right track in the inclusive classroom to support individual goals. The inclusive classroom – which places students with disabilities in regular classrooms – benefits from technology-augmented interim and formative inclusive classroom educational software evaluations. The technology is a decisive answer to step-up learner performance and reaching attainable outcomes. These alternate and effective software evaluations assess a student's work or understanding of a concept or lesson. An instructor can then make a judgment of student concept comprehension to track the progress of learners. Educational software simplifies an otherwise complex evaluation task.

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    Adjust Student Instruction

    This type of software assessment enables the instructor to judge competencies on the merits of student work collectively instead of raw test scores. The software documents student achievement through portfolio formats, checklists, custom reports and the ability to add comments. Student portfolios are maintained in electronic format to get an electronic snapshot or picture of collective learner progress (work) to show parents. A significant software component is the ability to combine student-performance data. With a mere glance, instructors can ascertain learners' progress (or lack of it). Ideally, the educational software proves strikingly efficient in the area of IEP's (Individual Education Plans) of special education students. The support offered to special education students and others in the inclusive classroom is instrumental for authentic evaluation of student achievement.

    Companies like Pearson and McGraw Hill remain among the leaders in educational software. McGraw Hill offers a solution that is similar to most educational software evaluations: Acuity Informative Assessment to improve learner achievement. The software's diagnostic and predictive assessments easily integrate into the classroom. It reflects student progress to provide details about student strengths and instructional needs. Most importantly, Acuity Informative Assessment allows the teacher to customize evaluations relative to curriculum goals and state standards. Teachers can evaluate their inclusive classroom a number of ways: student-response devices, paper and pencil or online. Student achievement is maximized based on individual and class results by the suggestion of practice activities, targeted instruction and intervention. Instructors can then modify individual instruction.

    • Organization by standards and competencies exhibits evidence of learner achievement.
    • Features present innumerable ways to organize and store classroom evaluations.
    • Specific content areas or other achievement categories subsequently associate other competencies and standards.
    • Organization follows by apparent competencies.
    • The educational software presents a cumulative evaluation perspective through observations of student behavior from year to year.
    • Notes on individual academic progress and learner behavior are kept on record easily with the software evaluations.
    • A real bonus is the software's ability to record, video, images, audio or samplings of a student's work.
    • The educational software's recordings of learners demonstrate documented evidence of academic and behavioral progression.
    • Automated data management saves instructors a great deal of effort and time.
    • PowerPoint presentations are available.

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    Benefits for Both Teachers and Administrators

    While the educational software's focus remains on aiding learners, it additionally helps instructors and administrators by offering information and a means to navigate learners. It allows teachers to modify their approach and momentum of curriculum. Enabling instructors, the ability to provide opportunities for intervention and emphasize ideas remains paramount for successful outcomes. Every school district maintains distinct assessment guidelines for students in inclusive classrooms, and this alternate educational evaluation software offers customization. Hence, specific standards toward student evaluation are optimized to fit particular district criteria. In addition, the software allows hyperlinks to create links to navigate electronically a student's work portfolio. The links aid in the evaluation area of target achievement. Foremost, these creative inclusive classroom educational software evaluation alternatives address individual student needs in lieu of traditional classroom testing. This allows educators to continue to make the important decisions that influence student achievement with inclusive educational software evaluations. Some good examples of educational software evaluations teachers can appreciate include: Limelight (Pearson), Perspective (Pearson), Learning Locator (Pearson), 21st Century Skills Assessment (FETC), Sapphire Special Education Software/IEP Writer (K12 Systems), PracticePlanet (Siboney Learning Group), and Assessment and Assignment Builder (Orchard).

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    References

    Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald J.B. Teaching and Learning with Technology (2nd ed.) Pearson Education, Inc., 2005.

    McGraw Hill: Acuity The All-in-One Assessment Solution, (2011) - http://www.acuityforschool.com/

    Scholastic.com: Tech Tools, Nadel, Brian. (2011) - http://blogs.scholastic.com/techtools/assessment_testing_software/

    Scholastic.com: Tech Tools, Weiser, Christine, (2011) - http://blogs.scholastic.com/techtools/assessment_testing_software/

    Source: author's own experience