In a school year where we are not all in the same building, students have struggled to understand the curriculum and have had to take responsibility for their own education.
“It is harder to focus,” freshman Jana Russel said. “You can’t really communicate with other people, and it is harder to understand the material when you’re not with the teacher physically.”
Teachers have faced difficulties of their own when assessing students’ skills since it is hard to determine what is honest work and detect cheating. To help with this process, teachers have started to use new platforms and tools.
IB History of the Americas teacher Joel Jepson has been using GoFormative to give his students unit tests.
GoFormative is a platform that allows teachers to create a time limit and create questions that require students to provide short answers.
This helps teachers recognize which students have a strong understanding of the material while detecting if students have copied and pasted information instead of using their own words.
“GoFormative is a good system and a good tool, but it’s limited and at some point, you’re going to have to go back to the old system,” Jepson said.
In classes that cover topics requiring math, checking a student’s understanding is a little more straightforward. IB Physics teacher Nabila Saqib has had the ability to easily alter assignments to prevent cheating during this virtual year.
“It is easy to change the asked quantity for the same scenario,” Saqib said. “I also use a specific template for answering free responses and hold students accountable for not using the template by providing feedback on the rubric.”
Many teachers have been using Quizizz as a tool in order to test their virtual classes due to its interactive abilities and the variety of different settings that allow teachers to monitor their student’s understanding.
“The questions and answer choices on Quizizz are ordered and automatically shuffled for each student,” Saqib said.
This prevents students from working on quizzes together and sharing answers with each other.
Although teachers are trying their best to reintroduce a similar format of honest test-taking, at the end of the day, students can find a way around it if they truly wish to. Students should take responsibility for their own education and follow the honor code.
“It is important for students to gain a sense of personal responsibility and I expect and trust the students to do the right thing,” Saqib said.
Virtual learning may come across as challenging for students, but at a certain point, we will be going back to in-person learning. Students may be tempted to check their notes during a test or look up answers online, but they will gain more from putting in the extra work and time to learn the material on their own.
On the occasion that in-person learning continues, students who have been using external resources during testing will have a big adjustment to make.
“If you take Topics and we go back to IB testing, you’re going to have to do that to the IB standards,” Jepson said. “You’re going to have it timed and you’re going to not have aids like Grammarly.”
Although it may seem like a hassle, students should try to put forward their best and honest work because it will pay off in the long run.