Using technology to revolutionise the way you evaluate

Even amid the great shift online, assessment methods have often remained mired in the traditional system, says Monica Francesca Contrino

Monica Francesca Contrino 's avatar
3 Dec 2021
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Using immersive tech, such as augmented reality, can revolutionise assessment in universities

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Technologico de Monterrey

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With the pandemic revolutionising the education system we all knew, we’ve had to adapt our courses and classes to the new reality. We’ve done amazingly well at finding new ways of transmitting knowledge and of doing so in a way that allows students to participate actively and engage through a variety of new technologies and apps. However, even amid this revolution, assessment methods have often remained mired in the traditional system, so below are some ideas and suggestions to help you evaluate using technology.

Diagnostic assessment

It is essential that you include a diagnosis to learn the level of students’ previous knowledge. This will help you customise your course and make it more challenging for your students – after all, no one wants to cover things they already know. However, the beginning of a new school year can be stressful, so starting with an exam can be harmful to students’ spirits. We recommend using free or low-cost gaming apps to create more enjoyable means of getting this information – for example, in my class, I use a Jeopardy-style team game that also helps my students get to know each other and work as a team.

Formative assessment

Formative assessments must be in line with expected learning outcomes or competencies. Traditionally, automatic exams, checklists, mental maps, timelines, case-solving, forums and debates have been implemented, but I advise you to use your creativity so that these tools can encourage self-assessment and collaborative work, providing students with information so they can make adjustments in their learning process.

Some examples for you to enrich your course include: metacognition activities, such as video reflections and self-assessment; audio-visual representation activities such as videos, virtual galleries, blogs, interactive infographics, podcasts, memes, comics and TikTok videos; interaction activities on social networks and role-playing; “wow factor” activities such as escape rooms, 360° video, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Living an experience can help greatly with facilitating understanding and practice of the contents, and this will usually result in increased motivation in your students as well as meaningful learning. Personally, such assessments are my favourites because they promote situated learning, which generates greater impact on students. It does mean, however, that your role may change based on the technological resources used. You could become, for example, an autonomous creator of new resources via apps, a curator of resources already available online and/or a mentor to advise and accompany students in these new forms of assessment, helping assuage the doubts that students may have when interacting with the resources.

Take advantage of the technology your students use daily to create stimulating and challenging activities that encourage the testing of concepts, skills and competencies. Keep students active and motivated. Do not repeat the same type of activity, and do not forget to find the right balance between individual, couple and team activities. Such variation will encourage the participation, commitment and learning of your students. Finally, remember that technology can allow for the integration of evaluation into the teaching process by automating feedback from activities that could consume considerable time.

Summative assessment

This assessment occurs at the end of the teaching-learning process to determine whether the student has achieved the course objectives and acquired the necessary competencies. You can carry this out in many ways, including modular or integrative exams, argumentative examinations, a comprehensive project or immersive activities.

In my opinion, the best way to evaluate how a student will solve a problem is by simulating a real-life situation through augmented or virtual reality. There are many benefits, such as being able to provide practical meaning and have more authentic assessment. I recommend selecting the topics in which students have the most difficulty – and never forget that it’s pretty much always possible to combine this type of assessment with other, more traditional ones.

Such evaluations will also allow you to review not only conceptual content but also procedural and attitudinal contents, and as a bonus, total immersion can often reduce the stress levels associated with a classic exam and improve student academic performance. In my experience, not only do results improve, but students also express greater general satisfaction with the course – both of which are about the strongest cases that can be made for you daring to update the traditional exam and enriching your course through tech-based assessments.

Monica Francesca Contrino is professor and academic coordinator for the Business School of Digital Education at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.


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