31 May 2013

Assessment: Flubaroo & Google Forms

Flubaroo is one of those tools I have been aware of for some time but also one of those who kept escaping me. However, with the advent of my new Unit that is all about understanding text, I saw the opportunity to try it out.

I first came across the script gallery in Google Forms at the GAFE Summit Singapore, in September 2012, where I learned how to make my forms send automatic emails - brilliant! I even earned a little certificate to celebrate my geekiness (thanks Jay Atwood). This was when I first learned about the possibility of Flubaroo, but it is only through using it that I have come to understand and appreciate how useful it is.

We are studying the novel Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, to explore the concepts of individuality, conformity, prejudice and tolerance. We are asking, do we dare to be ourselves and let others be themselves? Each week, learners have to perform a variety of tasks to demonstrate engagement, appreciation and understanding of the reading. One of the tools used to assess this is a Google Form, with between 9-12 questions on it, that tests their comprehension of the chapters read that week.

Preparing the Questions
Prior to teaching the novel, I collected resources from a variety of places and sifted through them to fine tune the learning I wanted to happen. I used these resources and my own reading of the text to select the best questions I though might allow learners to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding - some were straight forward and tested surface meaning, some asked for inference, some asked for consideration of the language etc. I also decided on a schedule of reading to determine which chapters would be assessed and when.

Setting up the Forms
Create a Form through Google Drive
For each review for each set of chapters, I created a Google Form.

In Google Drive, click "CREATE" and select "Form" from the drop down menu. I named each one according to the Chapters it pertained to.

Be sure to include questions asking for learners' names as well as their email addresses, as Flubaroo will automatically email results to them if you want it to.

I used multiple choice, check box or scale questions, as Flubaroo needs a set of data to grade against, and absolutes are easier than the myriad potential responses that text or paragraph responses may illicit.

Once all questions are entered, select a theme, if you wish, and save your form. Here is an example of the Form created to assess understanding of the first set of reading; Porcupine Necktie to Chapter 4.
Example of my finished Google Form

Once saved, your form will have a new, empty spreadsheet associated with it. For more on using forms, read Tips on Using Forms.

Creating the Answer Key
To create the answer key, which is used to mark all learner responses, simply complete the form with the correct answers and submit it. Be sure to enter your name too, so you can identify this entry later as the answer key. Click here for help on how to find or open the form you just created.

Share it!
You can now embed your Form into a Google Site, link to it from a website, or simply email your form to your learners. Click here for instructions on how to get a link to the form. All learner submissions will automatically be entered into a spreadsheet, which will look something like this. As you can see, my responses, with the correct answers are in the first field of submissions.
Example of completed spreadsheet form
Flubaroo it!
1) Install:
Open the spreadsheet associated with the form. From the "Insert" menu, click "Script". You'll be presented with a "Script Gallery", from which you can install a multitude of useful "scripts".
Script Gallery: Flubaroo

To install Flubaroo, type "Flubaroo" in the box at the top, and click the 'Search' button.  Once you've found it, click the "Install" button.

After installation, you'll see a new menu in the spreadsheet called "Flubaroo" (it may take a few seconds to appear). 

2) Grade:
Once you have assigned the form, learners have completed it and it is  ready to grade, just select "Grade Assignment" in the drop down menu from 'Flubaroo' in the tool bar.
Ready to grade?

Flubaroo will ask you a few questions, such as:
  • If any questions should not be graded
  • Which questions are for the purpose of student identification (e.g. name, student id, email)
  • Which submission should be used as the answer key
Once answered, Flubaroo will grade your assignment according to your answer key. It is really quick.

Choose your answer key etc.

Flubaroo will automatically create a second spreadsheet named 'Grades'.

What is really useful about Flubaroo is that it not only provides a summary of the responses but also flags up learners with particularly low scores, as well as highlights particular questions that scored quite poorly overall too. For example, if less than 60% of students get a question incorrect, the question will be highlighted in orange to alert you as something that needs to be addressed.

3) Email:
The Flubaroo menu will now offer you the ability to email each learner their scores, view a summary report, or regrade the assignment. You might want to regrade the assignment if more learners submitted answers, or if you want to throw out a question that most learners got wrong. 

When emailing grades, you are also offered the option to include an answer key in the email, which my learners have found very useful in determining questions they answered incorrectly. The email will include their total score, and their score for each question with incorrect answers highlighted in red. You can also include a customised message.  Note: You will only be able to email learners their grades if the original assignment had a question asking them for their email address - and they have entered it correctly.

4) Histogram:
On the 'Flubaroo' menu, you can also choose 'View Report', which provides a histogram of the results that you can also email to yourself.
Histogram of Results

I have found using Flubaroo as really useful tool to ensure learners are understanding the novel as we read. They know it is coming so it means they have to keep on top of their reading but it also allows me to see which areas are being misunderstood if many are getting answers incorrect. It also allows me to closely monitor individuals who score particularly poorly so I can talk to them to assess what they problem might be.

In conjunction with Literature Circles, I have found the weekly reviews work to complement each other and cover many different skills ranging from basic comprehension and summarising, to inference and discussion about symbolism and imagery. The fact that it grades so quickly, emails the results AND lets them know where they went wrong AS WELL AS offers a breakdown with flag of problem areas, has meant I am able to deal with issues as and when they arrive to allow me to adjust the teaching and learning required. Give it a go!
With thanks to Jay Atwood at the GAFE Summit for first opening my eyes to the world of Google Form Scripts and http://www.flubaroo.com/flubaroo-user-guide#step1.

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