How many times have you heard the phrase “teaching to the test?” Focusing on test scores has become a trend in schools, but it’s only resulted in teaching students how to memorize facts rather than apply knowledge. This method of instruction also prevents students from developing important life skills like problem-solving and the ability to complete more complex chains of tasks.
The auto-grading option available with online courseware means an end to paperwork. Any objective questions, including fill-in-the-blanks and ASE-style Tech A and B questions, can be automatically graded, giving instructors more time to work with students on mastering skills they will be able to use in real life.
Why Auto-Grading Works
Aside from being faster and sometimes more accurate than human graders, auto-grading is beneficial to both instructors and students. Instructors can spend more time developing practical application and hands-on learning opportunities, meaning they can more accurately assess their students’ grasp of the material. Further, when students receive immediate results on a quiz, they can identify gaps in knowledge and, instructor permitting, even reattempt the quiz for a better score.
Consider the student who aces every test in the classroom because of either great test-taking or good rote memorization skills. Does this mean the student is able to apply the knowledge to a real-life situation? Giving instructors an opportunity to experience students putting their knowledge into practice allows them to identify skill gaps that testing may not reveal. Additionally, teachers are able to explore practical applications more thoroughly when less time is devoted to the testing process – namely grading and recording results.
Many industries are more focused on potential employees being able to demonstrate what they are capable of instead of providing test scores and transcripts. Consequently, instructors need to prepare their students to safely and accurately complete the tasks they’ll be required to do in real life as opposed to simply memorizing the process. After all, an employer is not hiring somebody to explain how to do the job, they’re hiring somebody to actually perform the job.
Battling the “Buts”
Are you pondering the ways students could cheat the system if you rely on auto-grading? It’s not as easy as you might think. An LMS (learning management system) allows you to use a large bank of questions at random, so the likelihood of two students ending up with the same test is incredibly low. You also have the ability to limit the amount of time per question, making it difficult for students to cheat. Another option is simply allowing open-book testing to avoid the concerns altogether. Not only would this alleviate cheating concerns, it lets you be sure that your students know where and how to find information they need.
At the end of the day, auto-grading is one of many features that provides instructors with more opportunities to customize instruction while providing hands-on and practical education. If you’d like to explore ways to spend more time in the shop and less time with a red pen, reach out to CDX Learning Systems.