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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Electronic Test Grader (Grades 3-6)...Although Anyone Could Use It

If time were no obstacle, when we gave a test, we would perform “item analysis” to see what concepts were strong and weak within the class. With the emphasis on disaggregating data (by race and lunch status), we would also look at our subgroups. Time, however, is an obstacle. We grade individual student papers, record the overall grade in the gradebook, and move on. There is simply not time for anything else. But...what if all of this was done automatically for you?

Your principal will be sending you a tool that will do this type of data analysis for you. It is intended for use on the Saxon Benchmark Tests. You can, however, use it on any multiple-choice test.

To use the this Electronic Test Grader:
  1. Click on the “Enter Names” tab. Notice that the names of your students along with race, gender, and lunch status have been filled in for you. (The suggestion for having that step done for you came from a teacher, and it was a good suggestion. Yes, it meant I spent some time, but the time I spent pales in comparison to the time saved for teachers collectively.)
  2. Scroll down to the row labeled “Correct Answers.” Here is where you enter your key. Under the columns marked 1, 2, 3, etc. you enter the correct answer for each of those questions.
  3. To grade the student papers, simply enter beside each student’s name what the student answered. The Tab key will move you across the page from square to square.
  4. To save the data, go to File>Save As and choose a name for the data. That way, you will still have a blank sheet to use next time.
  5. That’s it!

Notice that as you enter the student responses a couple of things happen:
  1. Wrong answers immediately turn red.
  2. The overall grade for the test is automatically calculated.

Now, click on the “Results” tab. Here you will see:
  1. All of the information from the other tab. Student responses have been transformed into a series of zeroes and ones.
  2. You will see the overall score for each student.
  3. You will see the class average.
  4. You will see the percentage of students who answered each question correctly.

Notice the arrow points on the top row. You can click on any of them to disaggregate your data. For example to see how the boys performed, click on the arrow point beside “Gender” and choose “M.” The graph will change to show you how the males performed. You could look at the performance of white females by clicking the arrow beside "Gender" and choosing "F" and clicking on the arrow point beside "Ethnicity" and choosing "W." The graph would then display the results for that group of students.

More information on the Saxon Benchmark Tests will be forthcoming soon.

The immediate use for this tool is to give us a way to look at data at the classroom level, school level, and school district level on common assessments. The same tool could certainly be used for any subject and any grade level. If there seems to be interest at other grade levels, I can make the Electronic Test Grader available to others as well.

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