Tips and Tricks: Using Edcite for Assessments

Assignments vs. Assessments:

I teach high school Civics and Computer Science in San Francisco and, when I give my first test of the year, I like to set a distinct tone. With most assignments that I give out, I try to foster a culture of collaboration, questioning, recalling prior information and learning through mistakes and trying new things. This changes when it’s time for me to assess where we’re at. All notes and materials are put away, the noise level is silent, and there is no collaboration between students.

It’s important to be able to change the experience or feel of something to match the tone of the task at hand, which is why I want to highlight ways to change the experience from everyday assignments on Edcite to assessments on Edcite.

When Edcite started, we envisioned teachers using our platform in a formative way with their students. In the last few weeks, though, we have seen teachers using Edcite for summative assessments and so we have begun working with selected schools and districts to support summative assessments.

Assessing on Edcite:

In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in questions about how to use Edcite for Unit Tests and Benchmarks. This blog post will walk through some of the innovative ways that teachers are using Edcite to implement these assessments:

  • Limit Access

When you give pencil and paper tests, you don’t give your students the test anytime they want. Tests are generally taken during class so that the teacher can monitor students. Edcite has a feature that allows you to restrict access to a test to a specific time and date range.

To access this, open up the assignment editor and click on “Settings” (in red box in screenshot below).

Screenshot 1

Then, choose the tab titled “Limit Access”. Here, you will see a lot of options for restricting when students can access the test.

Screenshot 2

If you are planning on giving the test in a specific 1 hour block, you can set it up here. The test below is set to be given next Tuesday (1/27) from 1 to 2pm (note that military time is used so AM and PM are not necessary).

Screenshot 3

  • Student View Settings

Typically, students complete pencil and paper tests before they are given any kind of feedback from their teacher. I don’t stand over my civics students shoulders and tell them “Nice job, you got #2 right, but go take a look at #3”. Doing so would prevent their work from being their own. In Edcite, we make answer checking and redoing questions an option (this is useful for homework and practice) but you can turn it off for your assessments!

To do this, go to “Settings” from the assignment editor.

Screenshot 1

Choose the “Student View” tab (see screenshot below). Here you can either allow or disallow students redoing questions (I disallow this for students on tests).  You can also choose the option to “Hide Answer Details”. I would recommend choosing this if you don’t want students to be checking their answers as they go. If you don’t put this setting on, students can get discouraged if they see they missed an early question but can’t go back and do anything about it.

Screenshot 4

There is also a timer option if you want students to be aware of their time. Disclaimer: student feedback has been pretty consistent that the timer makes them nervous, I don’t use it for my tests!

Why Use Edcite for Assessments?

Edcite is a great assessment tool because:

  1. Much our teacher-created material is Common Core aligned (we have over 3,400 Common Core assignments, for every grade level and every subject!)
  2. Edcite’s question types mimic those used by the end-of-year exams — SmarterBalanced and PARCC.
  3. Edcite offers standard by standard grading. (For more info about Edcite’s standards grading and reporting features, stay tuned for our next tips and tricks blog post!)

Want more summative assessments from Edcite?

At Edcite, we are currently working on building Common Core aligned benchmarks to help students practice for new testing. If you are interested in learning more, sign up here. We will reach out to you!