Sunday, December 1, 2019

Assessments using Chromebooks and Google forms

Our school switched from iPads to Chromebooks this year, and I am all kinds of excited about the possibilities with Google forms and locked browser mode. A few weeks ago I spent about 30 minutes making my first vocab quiz in a Google form, and it went great and the kids said they liked the format better than paper. So a few weeks ago I spent about an hour putting my unit test into a Google form, and I am ridiculously excited about being able to get it all graded in 30 minutes or less.

In case it's useful, here's how I set it up: I divided the test into sections (4 different Google forms) so that students can choose which section they want work on first, just like they can with a paper test (but unlike a paper test, they can't go back to a previous section).

To streamline entering grades in the gradebook, my first two questions are "What is your last name?" and "What class are you in?" Then I can open the spreadsheet for the form and sort by class period and last name when it's time to put grades in.

I made a draft post of the different test parts in Google Classroom so that it's ready to go on test day, but when I post the draft, I only release it to students who are in class on the day of the test. If students are absent, I just release it to them whenever they come in to make up the test.

I tested it myself to see what students can and can't do. They can decide to exit the form without submitting, but if they re-open it, you get an email notification. Chrome disables the ability to take screenshots in locked browser mode (I tried it to just to make sure), and they can't open any other programs, tabs, etc. without exiting the Google form. I've used this in class for formative assessments where I don't want students to use a translator, and have discovered that it erases their progress on any other Google forms that they have open. Other than that, when they finish and submit, their browser should go back to what it was before they opened the quiz.

I should say that most of my test isn't multiple choice, but it will still be a lot faster to grade than paper because I can use the "grade by question" option in Google forms, which is a lot faster even than my grading-by-page method on paper.

After giving the test and a few quizzes this way, here are a few tweaks I've made:

1. I have a vocabulary section where I ask students to ID a certain number of words and another section that requires students to use what they know. I had these combined into one Google form, but in the future, I'll split it into two forms. The reason is that I give students a bunch of words that they can identify, but they don't need to identify them all. So there are maybe 10-15 points possible on the vocab ID section and another 5-10 points on the vocab in use section, but the Google form just gives me a total, and the total might be 50 or 60 if they identified all of the words that were in our unit vocab. So there are 15-25 points possible, but students might have more than that, and then I have to go in and look and see how they did on the second section where there aren't extra items (they don't get extra credit for identifying more than the required number of words). With the two sections separated, I'll be able to see quickly that they got the minimum number of words identified for 10-15 points, and in another spreadsheet their score on the second vocab section.

2. When grading: Don't try to grade anything while students are still taking the test. I thought I'd be efficient and get things started, but every time a student submits a form, the Google form refreshes, and you lose any work you haven't saved.

3. I only released it to students who were in class using Google Classroom, but it's theoretically possible that a student could share the link with someone who wasn't in class. So I also started adding passwords to Google forms that I change as soon as every student has opened the quiz or test. I used instructions from these two sites to set it up: and

4. Create two sections for every form. I like to scramble question order, but if I only have one section, the last name and class section questions get scrambled in with the actual test questions . So now every test and quiz has section 1 that asks for last name, class section, and a password, and section 2 that has the actual test/quiz items.

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