Favorite Tech Tools: Flubaroo
One of my favorite tech tools that I used regularly during the 2014-15 school year was Flubaroo. In case you don’t know what Flubaroo is, let me fill you in. It’s a Google application that allows you to automatically grade any assessment given in Google Forms. I finally decided to try it out with the objective portion of the freshman summer reading test.
I followed Flubaroo’s detailed tutorial. This is the exact kind of tutorial I would create for the teachers. It was clean with screenshots and explanations every step of the way. After creating my test, I took the test myself to create the answer key. When it came time for my students to take the test, I didn’t want a lot of wasted time in getting them the link. I posted the link in my Google Classroom right before class started so that my students could easily click on the link. At the end of class, I deleted the link so they wouldn’t have access to the test after they left my class.
I followed the tutorial step by step, and ta-da! Objective portion of the test graded…I know immediately that my freshmen didn’t do so hot on the test, and I was even able to email them their scores and share with them which answers they got wrong and the correct answers. Teachers don’t have to e-mail their students answers, but I wanted to try out the entire program.
I think it’s time-consuming to load tests that you’ve already made into Google Forms, but if it’s a test you’ll use year after year or if you are creating a new test, it’s worth creating it in Google Forms. I have a pretty spreadsheet with all sorts of data. I used it regularly for vocabulary quizzes and other objective assessments.
Here are a few of my tips.
- Don’t automatically collect the student’s e-mail address. Make the student type it in. When you give them access to that, they can see their answers again, and in theory, they could take screen shots or save it as a PDF and cheat.
- Take the quiz immediately after making it. Your version is the answer key. To make it easier on myself, I would create the vocabulary quiz so that is was the same order as the book. I would take the quiz and could have the book right next to me so I could just type the answers in, and I didn’t shuffle it until AFTER I took it.
- Lock the quiz so that students can only take it once. You can always unlock it if you have to.
- Make spelling count so you don’t have worry about checking answers.
- Flubaroo will mark any answer that a number of your students got wrong, so you can easily double check your answers and see what your students struggled with on the spreadsheet that Flubaroo creates.
- If you shuffle, break up everything you don’t want shuffled with headers. I love the shuffle function because it makes it harder to cheat when I had students crammed into my room sitting side-by-side. However, I quickly learned that I needed empty section headers between each area I didn’t want shuffled. This prevented those areas from being shuffled, as the shuffle only happens within an area between headers. My vocab quizzes, for example, would look like this:
Name of Assessment (Title)
Word Bank (in the default instruction box in a Google Form)
Vocab Quiz Template in Google Forms
School E-mail Address
Definitions (Section break header with the word “Definitions”)
Sentence Completion (Section break header with the word “Definitions”)
While I know I could give paper quizzes, I like how little time it takes for me to give and grade Flubaroo quizzes. They don’t work for everything, but when you want to quickly see if students understand facts or a topic, it’s a great way to gather information or give an assessment. In the article “Using Classroom Data to Give Systematic Feedback to Students to Improve Learning”, Dr. Carol Dwyer states, “Results from almost any assessment can be of great benefit to students, provided they are used to make instructional adjustments. And — the shorter the amount of time between assessment and adjustment — the more powerful its effect on learning.” This is why I am excited about Flubaroo. I know it’s important to give my students immediate feedback and that a more powerful lesson is learned. That’s hard, though, when I’m grading 50 papers and trying to balance work and my family. With Flubaroo, at least I feel like I can give more immediate feedback on objective assessments. It’s a bit more work for me on the front end, but it’s essentially no work on the back end. And it’s a win-win for my students.