Assessment of ASL Students through Technology for Enhanced Learning

By Hala Yehia Abd El-Wahab
Submitted to Session P5003 (Innovations in Foreign Language Curricula, Instruction, and Proficiency Assessment, 2017 Annual Meeting
LCD Projector with Audio Patch or Speakers;
Assessment of learners’ language ability, as noted by Chapelle and Voss (2016), is an important part of language education that has been affected by technology at least as significantly as language learning has. Although some teachers might resist using technology in their classrooms in general and in assessment in particular, others are encouraged due to the availability of specific tools that provide validity and reliability. According to Laborda (2007:8), “the benefits of online testing should overcome any of its drawbacks, as it can be faster, more efficient, and less costly than traditional paper-and-pencil testing.”
One of the most friendly and effective tools in technology which can be used in assessment is "Socrative". Simply, one can run it on a laptop or a smartphone with internet access. Barnett (2013) defined Socrative as a web-based tool which allows teachers to post open-ended or multiple choice questions to their students who provide their answers immediately on the screen (to be seen by all students). So, teachers get immediate insight into students’ understanding of the assigned questions. According to Bruff (2013), teachers’ instruction might be adjusted towards students’ needs, if required.
Therefore, this paper presents an overview of the use of Socrative in ASL classes in several activities for summative assessment (evaluating students' learning) and formative assessment (providing an ongoing feedback to monitor students' learning). An example of these activities is assessing students’ oral presentations. After each presentation, rubric questions (posted for students’ self and peer evaluation) are used for measuring the presentation skills, the content of the presentation, and the appropriate language used. Then, all students' answers and comments are shown anonymously on the screen to be discussed for future improvement. These answers would be captured by Socrative and delivered to teachers in a downloadable excel sheet which in turn will be sent to the presenter (student). In fact, the comparison between the use of Socrative and the traditional paper- and- pen in assessing this activity will be in favor for Socrative. Simply because the traditional tool requires spending hours analyzing the rubric answers, writing the analyzed data and finally sending them to the presenter without having a chance to discuss together the showed results on the screen. Thus, teachers’ choice of the appropriate tool of technology could not only save their time and effort, but also result in a more effective assessment of students’ performance.