“OARS has been extremely helpful when I sit with site leadership teams to review assessment results. We can "drill down" to the classroom and student levels and actually track progress over time. Fantastic!”

Online Assessment Has Had a Facelift!

Over the past few months, we have been upgrading the code behind Online Assessment.  Now we have upgraded the look and feel.  The objective was to make the experience easier for young kids to use without being insulting to older students, while leveraging the behind-the-scenes improvements in responsiveness and scalability.  We also introduced new timed test functionality.

Pencils Down!

Timed tests enforce a time limit from when the test is started until the test is submitted for scoring.  During a test, students will see a countdown timer showing the time remaining.  They can submit their answers early, but if they don’t, their work will be automatically submitted when their time expires.  If “save and continue” is enabled, the student can leave and come back, but the timer is tied to when the student started the test regardless of how long they had it open in their browser.

Teachers set the option for a timed test in the same interface they use to set the other options for the test.

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All of the other options still apply.  We recommend that you continue to allow students to “save and continue” when there is a time limit. That way if there is a browser, computer or power failure, students will be able to log in again and continue until their time expires.

First Look

The main menu is very similar to the old one.  There is a section for assessments that have not been started (“Available”) and a section for assessments that are completed (“Completed”).  The available assessments show the number of questions, questions answered and the options like save and continue and time remaining.  The completed assessments show the score and review status.

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Begin your Test

The changes will really be noticed when students begin their tests.  Test questions have a concise information area at the top and luxurious controls on the bottom.  Students can rescale the text with the text size buttons.  Notice the countdown timer – it gets more emphasis as the test progresses and the time dwindles.

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In addition to next/previous navigation, a student can easily list all the questions on the test, see which have and have not been answered, and jump to any one instantly.

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Passages are shown side-by-side next to the questions in a “portrait” format.

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If a student needs to see more of the passage, they can scroll vertically, or they can expand the panel to the full screen width, and collapse it again to continue.  The question pane operates the same way.

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Finishing Up

Whenever they want to submit their work, students can click on “Score My Test.”  They have to confirm that they want to score their test.  In this case, I tried to leave before I had answered all the questions so I got an extra warning.  If you do answer all the questions, you still get a confirmation box, but it doesn’t warn you as aggressively.

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Results are provided immediately after completion of the test, and the scores are made available in OARS.

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