To create my online quiz, I used Google Docs. I simply create a new spreadsheet. Using the editing toolbar on my wikispaces site, I embedded the quiz and students simply went to my website, answered the questions and then submitted their work. Using Google Docs you can create written response answers and multiple choice. Very simple formatting, as Google Docs automatically formats your information. Students do not need an account with Wiki or Google to complete this quiz. Google Docs automatically places students responses into a spreadsheet, so grading is extremely easy; just read straight down each column to check student work. Google Docs also creates pie charts (for multiple choice questions) that tell you the percentage of students that choose each answer. This makes for very quick self-reflection on each question, one click and you can see if 90% of your students missed number two. Students completed their quiz during class in the computer lab.
I have encountered several responses from other teachers and administrators. The first question from my principal was "how do you make sure students do not look at each others screens and cheat"? In the end, I think it is nearly impossible to eliminate cheating. BUT quizzes and tests do not occur often in my class, I use alternate forms of assessment. I use Tests and quizzes to monitor progress as we build a base of knowledge prior to completing projects or other forms of assessment. The majority of my students understand that while they receive points for tests and quizzes, in the end cheating only hurts themselves. Do I have students that cheat, of course, but you deal with that just like if they cheated on a paper test. Making questions that require a written response also helps eliminate cheating. As I walked around the computer lab, most students were so busy typing, they did not even bother to check on their neighbor. The idea of putting my tests online and allowing students to complete them at home means that I cannot control who they talk to and what they look at to answer questions, according to my administration. This is an issue of teaching philosophy. If my students go home and use each other, their notes, textbooks, and the internet to answer test questions; I think that is great. Not only are my students learning content, but they are learning problem solving and research skills. We are so connected that people "google" information and communicate with peers to find information all of the time. If two, three or ten students text each other with questions about why Roman roads are an enduring impact, then they are using technology to work together and solve a problem. That is more important than memorizing the name of emperor that built the road. My fellow teachers are split on the idea. Some do not trust their students to complete online assessment, other are all on board and I am doing an in-service next week to show them how to make their own online assessment. Students have began to leave feedback on my Wiki. All of it very positive. Many students have made comments about the trust I am showing in them, the fact that they feel like it is a college class and some simply like that they do not have to mess with paper.
As for positives and negatives? I think the positives are numerous. No printed paper tests, secure and digital copy of student work (Can't loose students' tests!) and students reaction is overwhelmingly positive. Colleges teach entire courses online and they have been doing that for several years. If my seventh graders are exposed to online learning, then I am doing my job of preparing them for their futures. The biggest surprise to me is the quality of students' written work. With paper tests, I had to practically pull teeth to get students to give me more than three sentences for short-answer questions. With this first online test, students are giving me full paragraph answers, using examples from class and supporting their facts and opinions. It is not perfect, students will inevitably cheat and some students do not have home access to the internet, but these negatives are manageable. We have built in team-time during our school day where students can access a computer lab and complete their online assessments if they do not have internet at home. Kid's will always cheat, so I try and work around that. I let them use notes and each other. I encourage them to research and communicate before answering questions. All-in-all it was a very successful experiment.