Step 3: Choose the Right Tool(s) for Assessments

For this step in developing your assessment plan, you will consider the different assessment tools available within Canvas and beyond and choose the ones most appropriate for the assessments in your plan, both formative and summative. After learning about the affordances and limitations of these technologies, you will be able to identify and select the tools that align with the goals and needs of your assessment development. 

The information in this guide will help you to dive into how you can use the technologies to develop and administer your course assessment by addressing the following questions:

What are these tools best used for? 
The sections of this page will help you learn what each tool is best used for so that you can choose the right tool for your assessments. 

How can you use the tools to meet your needs for assessment development?
You may have already used some of the tools to a certain extent. In the sections below, you'll learn more about each tool's full potential so that you can leverage them to meet your needs for assessing student learning in different environments.  

What should you consider using the tools to assess student learning? 
Each section below also provides you with best practices, strategies, and tips for using the different tools for developing and administering assessments.


Assessment Tools Within and Beyond Canvas

Canvas Assignments
Gradescope
Kaltura In-Video Quizzes
Canvas Quizzes and New Quizzes
Respondus Exam Authoring
TurningPoint
VoiceThread


Canvas Assignments

The Assignments tool in Canvas is best used for creating, collecting, and grading assignments online. Assignments may be submitted via file upload, in-line with the Rich Content Editor, or an external tool (i.e., VoiceThread, Perusall) that is integrated with Canvas. You can also create assignments that require no submission or submissions on paper to provide students with instructions about the assignments and when they are due and to add these assignments to the Gradebook so that students’ grades for the assignments can be entered. Any assignment created and published in the Assignments page will automatically show up in the Grades, Calendar, and Syllabus.

How Does Canvas Assignments Work?
What Can You Do with Canvas Assignments?
  • Assignment groups and weight: You can create assignment groups and assign a weight (percentage of overall course grade) to each group, e.g., homework, quizzes, projects, papers, etc.. The final course grade will be automatically calculated based on the grouping and weight you set up.
  • Differentiated assignments: You can create an assignment for everyone in the course or differentiated by section or user.
  • Group assignments: You can create a group assignment, and you can assign a grade to everybody in the group or different grades for each individual in the group.
  • Assignments with external tools: You can choose to add an external app (LTI tool) as a submission type. Grades for the assignment can populate the Gradebook.
  • Grading options: You can choose different grading options: point value, percentage, complete/incomplete, letter grade.
  • Rubric: You can attach a rubric to an assignment to let students know what criteria will be used to grade the assignment.
  • Peer review: You can assign students to review submissions from their peers.
 


Gradescope

Gradescope is best used for creating, collecting, and grading paper-based assignments and exams that require students to complete with handwriting or drawing. It could help speed up the grading process, making grading and providing feedback more consistent. 

Gradescope also works well for programming assignments, as well as bubble sheet exams with only multiple-choice and not other question types.  Programming assignments can be graded by an auto-grading script provided by the instructor, or manually graded with a rubric and in-line comments. For bubble sheet exams, students will print a blank bubble sheet template and use it to write down their answer choices while viewing a separate question sheet available online.  Their submissions will be graded automatically by Gradescope by using the answer key provided by the instructor. 

Students need to scan their work and submit the scanned copy for grading. If students have no access to a printer, they can still write their answers on a blank sheet and submit it, but the instructor will have to manually map the student's responses to each question when grading those submissions. 

How Does Gradescope Work?

What Can You Do with Gradescope?
  • Submitting scanned assignments or exams: Generally speaking, students will scan their assignments or exams and submit them. However, you can choose to submit on behalf of students, for instance, if you collect the submissions in class and your TAs can help batch scan and upload them for grading. 
  • Grading and providing feedback with rubrics: Gradescope allows you to create and change rubric items as you are grading. When you made changes to the rubric, they are automatically applied to other students who received the same mark. You can use two different types of rubrics, one with Positive Scoring, meaning rubric items default to adding points, and another with Negative Scoring, meaning rubric items default to subtracting points from the total points available. These rubrics can be imported from a previous course if it has the same assignments. 
  • Annotating: The annotation tools in Gradescope allow you to add comments directly to students' submission. 
  • Tagging questions to learning outcomes: You can create tags for the learning outcomes of your course, and apply these tags to particular questions. When you finish grading, you can use the tags to view a summary of the class performance on each learning outcome. 
  • Reviewing grades: After your finish grading, you can see a histogram and some basic statistics that give you an overview of how your students did on the assignment. You can also view an individual student's graded submission by clicking on their name. 
  • Publishing grades and notifying students:   Grades must be published in order for students to view them. When you publish grades, you have the option of sending them an email notification that the grades are available. By default, the email contains some basic assignment statistics, but you may choose to remove these if you like. You can also see whether a student has viewed his or hers after the grades are published. 
  • Managing regrade requests: You can specify a certain period of time when students can request regrade. When you regrade a student's submission, you can make a specific point adjustment to this particular student. You can also modify rubric items and apply the point adjustment to ALL other students in the same situation. 
  • Reviewing assignment and question statistics: You can see a breakdown of scores and selected answers for each question in an assignment. For bubble sheet exams, item analysis is also available. You can see discriminatory scores for each question, which would help you determine whether the question is working well to discriminate students with knowledge from those that might be just guessing. 

Learn more about Gradescope from the vendor help and support site

Additional Tips for Using Gradescope
  • When you create assignments or exams, always include a space for students to enter their name and student ID.
  • When you include multiple-choice questions, design them to have students write their choice, not circle it. Written answers are easier recognized by Gradescope when it groups answers for grading. 
  • When you include open-ended questions, allow ample space for answers, and draw boxes to clearly show spaces so that students would not write outside of the space. 
  • Add "Page Y of X" to each page of the answer sheet to ensure that students have all the pages for their submissions. 
  • Make assignments or exams available to students as early as possible to help those who need time to secure a printer. 
  • When you are grading, grade by questions, not by submissions.  Grading the same question for all submissions at a time could make grading and providing feedback more efficient and consistent. When you have multiple graders, you may consider letting each grader grade the same question. 
     

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Kaltura In-Video Quizzing

Kaltura In-Video Quizzes is best used for embedding low-stake assessment or self-assessment questions within pre-recorded videos. Well-designed questions help engage students and turn passive video viewing into active learning. They can also reduce students' cognitive load by breaking down videos into smaller and meaningful segments. Students' learning is reinforced by reflecting on what they have learned, responding to the questions, and getting feedback on their responses. They may also easily review the preceding video to understand the content before continuing. Instructors may use the aggregate student performance on the quizzes to determine where instruction needs improvement.

How Does Kaltura In-Video Quizzing Work?

What Can You Do with Kaltura In-Video Quizzes?
  • Embed different types of questions at your chosen point of a video. The following four types of questions are available:
    • Multiple-Choice Questions: They allow up to four possible answer choices. 
    • True/False Questions: They can be changed to any question with two responses (i.e., Yes/No). 
    • Open Questions: They allow students to enter text responses (up to 270 characters long) to on-screen questions. 
    • Reflection Point:  This type of question does not require entering responses and is usually used for students to pause and reflect on a question or a topic displayed on the screen. 
  • Grade questions. Both multiple-choice and true/false questions can be automatically graded when a correct answer is provided. Grades can be sent to the course Gradebook when the quiz is added as an assignment. You can access students' responses to Open Questions, but they will not count towards the grade on the quiz.
  • Provide hints for answer choices. When students do not know which answer they should choose, hints can help students think before they randomly pick one answer.
  • Provide a rationale for answer choices. Be sure to explain why an answer is correct or incorrect.
  • Decide how students take the quiz. You can allow students to skip a question or require them to submit an answer before proceeding forward.  You can also allow students to change their answers before submitting the quiz.
  • Decide what results students can see after a quiz is submitted. You can choose to show students correct/incorrect answers of questions, as well as the scores of the quiz. 

Visit Kaltura's knowledge base to learn more.

Additional Tips for Using Kaltura In-Video Quizzing
  • Space questions out as evenly as possible: Keep students engaged throughout the entire video by spacing questions out and placing the last question at the end of the video. 
  • Shuffle answers: Make sure that the correct answer is not always the default choice for all questions.
  • Provide hints that prompt thinking: Do not give away the answer when you provide hints. Instead, provide hints that prompt students to think and find the answer by themselves. 
  • Always provide a rationale for both correct and incorrect answers: Practice without feedback has been proven ineffective. Telling students that they chose the correct answer is not enough, as their choice of the answer could be a random guess. The feedback that can help students learn needs to explain why an answer is correct or incorrect.

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Canvas Quizzes and New Quizzes

The Quizzes and New Quizzes tools are best used for developing and administering quizzes or exams with a mixture of question types that can be completed with only a keyboard or mouse. By default, the classic Quizzes is used in all courses. The newer version of the tool, New Quizzes, needs to be enabled through Settings >> Feature Options. Once it is enabled, you will be asked to choose either type when you create a new quiz.

Generally speaking, New Quizzes has more question types and offers more moderation and accommodation features. However, if you need 3rd-party tools such as SpeedGrader for grading, or exam proctoring, you need to use the classic Quizzes.

To learn more about their differences, please take a look at the detailed comparisons of their functionalities. There are also two practice quizzes in this course to give you a preview of all question types available from both the classic quizzes and the new quizzes.  They will give you an idea of how the interface and structure are different for students. 

How Do Quizzes and New Quizzes Work?

Learn more about Quizzes from the Canvas Instructor Guide
Learn more about New Quizzes from the Canvas Instructor Guide

Strategies for Setting Up Online Quizzes to Minimize Cheating

When you create a quiz in Canvas, there are many options for you to choose from.  There is a comprehensive guide that will help you get a clear idea about what these options mean and how to use quiz settings to make cheating difficult. Those guidelines may not be necessary for low-stakes quizzes, but we recommend you follow them fo high-stakes exams.

There are a few caveats that you should be aware of when you set up your quizzes in Canvas:

  1. Default feedback setting allows students to see correct answers right after quiz submission: This would lead to the risk that students who completed the quiz earlier could leak the answers to other students who haven't taken or submitted the quiz. We strongly recommend you change this setting and do not release the feedback until after the quiz is due, or starting from a date you specify.
  2. Questions drawn from a question bank to a quiz cannot be randomized:  You can create question banks and question groups in Quizzes. Please note that they function differently. Briefly stated, a question bank is a question repository while a question group is a smaller set of questions selected from the bank for a particular quiz. When you create a quiz, you can pull questions from the banks into the quiz. However, you won't be able to randomize them, unless you also add them to a question group. A question group allows you to set up that a certain number of questions will be randomly selected for each student, or that all students will get the same questions but with a different order.
  3. When you make changes to questions in a bank, these updates do not necessarily apply to the same questions that had been added to a quiz: This happens when the questions were selected from the bank but were not added to a question group. In this case, the questions are not actually linked to the bank. Hence the updates do not apply. However, if the quiz questions are from a question group within a bank, they would be automatically updated.
Additional Resources

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Respondus Exam Authoring

Respondus is a Window-based exam authoring tool. It is best used for creating and formatting questions for exams that can be printed to paper or imported to Canvas.

How Does Respondus Work?

What Can You Do with Respondus?
  • Create exam questions from scratch: Respondus allows you to author questions for printing or importing into your online course in different learning management systems(LMS). 
  • Import and covert questions from a file: Respondus allows you to import questions from a file, convert them, and publish them to your Canvas courses. Questions the can be imported include multiple-choice, true and false, essay, fill in the blank, matching, and multiple response questions. They must be organized in a format that is acceptable to Respondus and the file must be stored in one of the following formats: plain text (.txt), rich-text (.rtf), MS Word (.doc and .docx), tab/comma-delimited (.csv) format. Embedded graphics can only be imported if the file is in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) format.
  • Import and convert questions from different LMS(s): Respondus allows you to import exams from one LMS, convert them, and publish them to another LMS. 
  • Select and use questions from a publisher test bank: If you adopt a participating textbook, you can access the accompanying test bank directly within Respondus after registering with a file code and password provided by the publisher. Then you can create exams by selecting questions from the test bank.
  • Print an exam: Respondus allows you to print exam, exam with answer key, or answer key only. When you print an exam, you can choose to randomize question order, randomize answer choice within each question, and group questions by type so that students may receive different copies of the test.  

Learn more about how to use Respondus

Tips for Using Respondus
  • Download and install Respondus: You may download a copy of Respondus 4.0 from OIT Software Distribution web site. Log on with your GT credentials, then select Microsoft Windows Desktop for software type and CSS/CSRs for affiliation, and you will see Respondus 4.0 for download. Note that that on the download page, the licensing information and installation password are provided. You will be asked to provide this information when you install Respondus on your computer. So please don't close this page until you finish installing the software.
  • Format questions in a Word document for Canvas: As it is mentioned above, questions from a file must be formatted in a way that is acceptable to Respondus before they can be imported. If you have questions in Word document, you may use this formatting guide that provides detailed instructions and examples on how to format different types of questions for courses in Canvas. 
  • Please note at this time in Respondus Canvas quizzes cannot be downloaded using the Canvas personality. However, Quizzes can be exported from Canvas and imported into Respondus using the QTI personality.

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TurningPoint

TurningPoint, AKA "clicker", is a classroom response system. It is best used for facilitating just-in-time teaching,  peer instruction, and low-stakes assessments. Students use a physical clicker device, a laptop, or a mobile device to submit responses to questions posed by the instructor. The answers are immediately recorded and displayed on a classroom projection screen, providing an opportunity for further discussion and consideration.

How Does TurningPoint Work?

TurningPoint software includes three applications:

  • PowerPoint Polling: this application, as its name suggests, integrates with PowerPoint and it allows instructors to embed clicker questions in PowerPoint Slides and enables them to lecture without having to navigate between different applications.
  • Anywhere Polling: this application is ideal for instructors who use various applications other than PowerPoint for instruction and it enables them to poll questions on the fly.
  • Self-Paced Polling: this application allows students to take a test by answering a set of test questions by using the clickers at their own pace.

In addition, TurningPoint also offers web polling, which allows instructors to conduct the polling through a web portal, without having to rely on its stand-alone software.

Learn more about how to use TurningPoint from the vendor's product and training web site

What Can You Do with TurningPoint?

You can integrate various clicker activities based on course content, learning objective, your own teaching styles, students’ learning needs, and time constraints. The most common clicker activities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Summative assessment: graded activities such as quizzes or tests with automated grading.
  • Formative assessment: question polling to provide real-time information about student learning to both the instructor and the students.
  • Contingent teaching: Teaching in a way that adapts to the immediate learning needs of students based on real-time feedback from the students about their understanding of the course content.
  • Discussion warm-up: Setting the stage for a class-wide discussion that engages all students through polling a question and displaying various responses from all students.
  • Peer instruction: Students learning from each other through discussing questions polled.
  • Attendance: Taking attendance directly or indirectly without having to pass on a sign-in paper sheet.

For additional information about using Clicker Response Systems, visit this resource.
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VoiceThread

VoiceThread (VT) is best used for creating, sharing, and commenting on assignments that involve the use of text, images, audio, and video. You might use VoiceThread for a variety of purposes, including 

  • self-introduction at the beginning of a semester
  • project presentations
  • digital storytelling
  • practicing language learning
  • discussing, debating, commenting, and providing feedback

While these learning activities might also be done with other tools in Canvas, the key advantage of VT is that it makes it easy for instructors and students to interact and communicate with multiple modalities. 

How Does VoiceThread Work?

What Can You Do with VoiceThread?
  • Add VT as an assignment: When you create this assignment, you will need to select External Tools as the submission type, locate VT from the list, and select it. 
  • Add VT to a module or course navigation: You can add VT as a module item, which provides a link that you can use to add VT to the course navigation menu by using the Redirect app. 
  • Configure a VT activity: After you have added a VT link in your course, you may decide what you want your students to see and do when they click that link. Here are four options for your configuration:
    1. Course View: This option takes your students to the main VT page for your course, where they will see all the VTs shared with the course.
    2. VT Home: This option takes students to their own VT home page, where they can see all of their own VTs. It is a good choice for an activity that you are asking them to create their own VTs.
    3. Individual VT: Display a particular Voice Thread you want to directly take students to.  It is a good choice if you want students to view and/or comment on a specific VT.
    4. Assignment Builder: Please note that this option only displays after you have added VT to a Canvas assignment. If you choose this option, students will be taken to this assignment.
  • Create a VT assignment: You can create three types of assignments:
    1. Creat a VT: It requires students to create their own VT and submit it for grading.
    2. Submit a comment: It requires students to submit one or more comments on a VT of your choice. 
    3. Watch a VT: Requires students to watch a VT of your choice from start to finish.
  • Grade a VT assignment: You may enter a percentage grade between 0 and 100. The corresponding assignment can have any point value you wish to assign to it. The percentage from VoiceThread will be multiplied by the point value to produce the correct number of points in the gradebook.
  • Remind students who have no submissions: You can send an email reminder to those students who have not yet submitted their assignments.
  • Create groups and contacts: Creating groups or contacts would allow you to share VTs with a specific group of students or an individual student.
  • Moderate comments: You can choose to moderate comments by reviewing all comments to make sure they are appropriate before releasing them to the class.

Learn more about using VoiceThread in Canvas

Best Practices for Using VoiceThread

  • Create a VT for students to practice using it: If students are expected to record and post audio and video for a graded assignment, it is ideal that they can practice and ensure that they are able to do that with their devices.
  • Provide students with online netiquette guidelines: These will help you set expectations on creating a safe, friendly, and encouraging learning community for all the students. Here is an example of online discussion netiquettes from the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • Add close captioning to audio and video VTs:  You can add closed captioning to your video or audio VTs and comments within VoiceThread. You can also encourage your students to do so.
  • Direct students with disabilities to use VoiceThread Universal: VoiceThread Universal is an HTML version of VT that is made for screen readers. For students who have visual impairment and need accommodation, you may direct them to switch to VoiceThread Universal from his/her account.

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