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Digital Learning Environments

Creating online examinations using Forms

This post was a long time coming. This is how our school got the most out of our teachers time fedback to our students effectively at the end of our 4 months of online learning by creating examinations using Forms.

But COVID19 online learning has finished? And you choose to spend your first day of your holidays writing this? Why did I bother writing this, I hear you say? So. Many. Reasons. I’ve even listed them as bullet points below! I do see the benefits of examining students using paper examinations too. However, creating and assessing students online should have an important place in every K-12 school, and this is how we completed our first major examination season using Microsoft Forms. Scroll all the way down for a bonus OneNote hack that blew my mind last night!

This post was a long time coming. This is how our school got the most out of our teachers time fedback to our students effectively at the end of our 4 months of online learning by creating examinations using Forms.

But COVID19 online learning has finished? And you choose to spend your first day of your holidays writing this? Why did I bother writing this, I hear you say? So. Many. Reasons. I’ve even listed them as bullet points below! I do see the benefits of examining students using paper examinations too. However, creating and assessing students online should have an important place in every K-12 school, and this is how we completed our first major examination season using Microsoft Forms. Scroll all the way down for a bonus OneNote hack that blew my mind last night!

  • Forms can be shared between department members to collect data from your own class.
  • Variety of questions and answers available.
  • Questions can be shuffled to prevent unwanted student collaboration.
  • Some questions can be self-marked.
  • The exam can be scheduled to be released in Teams or OneNote exactly when you want it to be.
  • Forms supports Immersive Reader to help students with differing needs.
  • Forms can be scheduled to a set time and set groups of students to support differentiated examinations.

Building your assessment:

Microsoft Forms has a Forms or Quiz setting. The main difference is that with a Quiz, you can allocate points and set a mark scheme. For creation of examinations, select Quiz.

Title and Images

Add your title and insert instructions in the sub heading underneath the title.

You can add images or videos from online or from any saved document to every question.

Tip for images: When inserting an image, edit the image by clicking the pen icon to show “small” in order to display the whole image clearly. I found it really useful to preview the exam before I sent it out using “phone view”, to make sure it worked on all devices.

Questions:

All question types have the following common features:

  • Points– Select the number of points you want to allocate to a question.
  • Required– Select required to prevent students handing in a Form until the question is completed.
  • Copy– Copy the question and all settings.
  • Maths– Enable the answer to be written as a figure. The following board will appear to enable numerical inserts.
  • Subtitle– To add more guidance on the question.

Choice:

It is possible to enable auto-marking on a choice question by selecting the correct answer next to the option.

There is also an option to auto generate feedback for options using the comment box next to the option.

The “shuffle options” will randomly shuffle the selections for every student. This will not mess up your marking, the student responses will appear in the same order for you.

Text

There are two types of text: short and long answer.

Short answers:

Enable auto-marking by inserting possible answers and alternative answers.

Enable restrictions to ensure students write a certain mathematical value.

Long answers:

There is a 4000 character limit on a long answer question and answer.

You cannot auto-mark on a long answer question.

Section

Add new sections to separate your examination into different sections.

Ideal for subjects that are split into different papers.

You will not be able to shuffle questions for students if you have sections.

Before distributing, make sure you change the settings

Change the settings to help your marking before you share with your colleagues or your students.

Turn off auto-mark for more controlled feedback. This means the students will not see which questions they got correct until you return the Form. Microsoft Forms will still show a baseline mark if there are auto generated answers within the Forms, but it will not display which question the students have got incorrect (this was true at the time of writing…. but I am hoping by September they fix this!)

Turn on record name of each participant, which also records their school email.

Specifying an end date and time will prevent all submissions after that time, which is hard to manage with students that are having internet issues.

You can control the start and end times using Teams Assignments instead.

Sharing your examination with others.

Use the share function to share your examination.

Share link

You can use these links in order to share the examination with students, however this is not advised because it is harder to control the timings.

Share template

Sharing a template provides a template to your colleagues so that they can duplicate and save the form for their own class. They will be able to edit their own version, but not yours.

Share to collaborate

Sharing this link provides access to your master copy.

Giving students the examination in Teams Assignments

Once you have created the examination in Microsoft Forms (it will save in the “shared with me” section if you have received it off someone else), you can then attach it to an assignment.

Go to your class team and create a Quiz in your Assignments. Attach the one you want.

Select exactly the students you want to distribute to. This ensures you give the correct assignment and timings to the correct students.

Edit the assignment post dates to start and end at the exact time and date your examination starts.

Closing the assignment will prevent any further submissions and automatically award the student with a mark of 0.

This is not advised in case of connectivity issues with the students when they try to submit the exam. Teachers will be able to see any late submissions in the Assignments tab by not selecting a close date.

Using OneNote to distribute the Form

Full disclaimer: When someone first showed OneNote to me, I fully freaked out at the monster it can be. The last 4 months of working with it…. and OneNote has transformed my teaching into something I never even thought possible. I think it has even become my friend.

One of the ways it has transformed my teaching is the powerful distribute and feedback functions to make marking easier. No more flicking 100’s of stapled pages and forgetting that one test paper on your coffee table. Embedding a Forms onto OneNote lets you run a test, lock the pages to disable student editing and feedback all in one place. So neat. (actually tidy, as well as the 90’s definition of neat).

Why would you use OneNote instead of Assignments? If you already use OneNote for the classes copybooks (highly likely if you don’t want to be marking with gloves on) then it keeps everything in one place. OneNote also gives the opportunity for even more detailed and simple feedback using the voice note and digital inking functions.

Instructions on using OneNote to distribute the Form

Create your page in Content Library as normal, then go to the Insert tab to Insert Forms (mine was hidden in the little arrow).

Find the Form you want. Click Insert Form, and it loads beautifully on your OneNote page.

If the students have connectivity issues, they can also click onto the Test hyperlink at the top of the page.

This is now where the magic and sparkles happen…. go back to Assignments in Teams. Create an Assignment, and add the OneNote page as a resource.

Choose the test page:

Choose where it will appear in your student’s OneNote:

You can even add a rubric onto it if you need to! Instructions on creating and sharing rubrics within your Department will come in another post.

Now follow the instructions above, like any other assignment, and you are good to go. Once your examination is done, you can go back into OneNote and lock the page to prevent further editing.

Have I missed any tips out? What are your thoughts on the creation and distribution of online assessments? Waste of electricity or photocopier saver?

By Linda Parsons

Author of Digilin Learning.
Follower of Educational Technology enthusiasts, of all subjects. I am an MIE Fellow, Apple teacher and Google Educator. If it can be used as a learning tool, I will be keen for it. Currently a science teacher in the UAE.

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