Checklist – a useful tool for self-assessment

Formative assessment is a key element of good teaching & learning. Students should always know how well they have learnt a topic – what they know well, and what they could improve on. Allowing students time to self-assess is not always possible during lesson time and Moodle can be used to solve this issue, shifting some of the self-assessment for homework.

The ‘Checklist‘ package (updated less than a week ago) is very easy to use, and creating your first self-assessment with it should be a breeze, as long as your criteria for self-assessment are clear and easily understandable by students.

Example of a checklist

Example of a checklist - using optional items to categorise items

Although it is a great resource, I must warn you that the Checklist package does not allow for a scale to be used (e.g. I am very confident doing this, I am confident doing this, I am sometimes confident doing this, I am not confident doing this, I do not know how to do this) and you should use either the ‘Questionnaire‘ or the ‘Feedback‘ modules to achieve this, though in my opinion it takes longer to setup and is not as ‘child friendly’. The Checklist package allows only for a very simple ‘Can do / Need to work on’ setup, which I have found to be very useful to students, and myself.

The package can be used in your everyday teaching, and here are some of its benefits:

The obvious one – it helps your students

My students often need to write individual targets for each subject, and it is invariably difficult for them. Prior to using the ‘Checklist’ module, I was doing other self-assessment activities but the more organizationally challenged students struggled to keep a record of it. Now, they can easily see what they need to improve on at all times, especially if the criteria are grouped together. Using the module has encouraged students to write meaningful targets as opposed to the dreaded ‘I need to get better grades in ICT’. Overall, they become more familiar with the syllabus and our expectations as teachers.

Individual checklist

Each student gets their own checklist, with a progress bar

This tool will help you with your lesson planning

At the moment, my students are revising for their mock exams, and though I have planned revision activities based on past test results and past experience, it is always useful to know what the students need the most – right now. The ‘View Progress’ feature allows you to do just that. At a glance, you can see which skills/topic has not been understood by most of your students and focus on them. This could also be used to comment on your scheme of work for the following years.

Progress report

According to this, I clearly need to focus on CPU and Hardware & Software

It helps with report writing

After the mock exams, it will be ‘long’ report writing time for me (looking forward to that!). Of course I use the data from tests completed this term to comment on students’ performance, but I find it useful to have data from the students, to see how they perceive their learning, and use it for some of my reports. Each student gets their own checklist report, as well as a ‘Progress Bar’, so it is easy for me to compare whether students are performing as well as they think they are. So far, there hasn’t been too much discrepancy between their attainment grade and their perception of skills/knowledge attained but I think it is a valuable tool to have under your belt.

I think the developed has done a great job and some of the additions from the last iterations add value to the package (colours, progress bar). I’d like to see the following implemented in a future version:

Colours

It is now possible to pick from a choice of colours for each item. While it is a great addition, it is rather time consuming. A colour picker would be great, or at least using the same colour as the last previously added item would be a great time saver.

Labels

Optional items are great to categorise items, but show as ‘not done’ in the ‘All item’ progress bar, which bothers some students. Labels would be an efficient way of grouping items, and with the use of HTML editor pictures and the like could be inserted.

HTML tags support

At the moment, items only support text. Support for simple tags such as <strong> would be welcome, but that is nitpicking really.

I strongly encourage you to use the Checklist package as part of your formative assessment routine. Do feel free to comment to share your own practice and ideas.

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