Remote Learning A-Z: Q is for Quizzes

Teachers have been giving quizzes in Google Forms for quite a while. But Google being Google, they are always coming out with new features to improve this experience. For any classroom environment (remote or otherwise) I love two features especially: their self-grading option, and their ability to attach feedback at multiple points in the process. Also, I just discovered a super hack to password protect your form quizzes.

But First: Remember the Why

Before we get to the how-to, I have to get on my little soapbox about assessment. Remember, the fundamental purpose of assessment is to provide actionable feedback on learning, both to you and to your students. Often in assessment we forget about the actionable part. Assessment data, especially given the advantages to analyze it with technology, must be used to give teachers insight on where students are struggling and succeeding. On the other side of that coin, once we get data we need to act on it by modifying our practice for student needs. Otherwise, the information is just stagnant and you’ve missed a prime learning opportunity.

Ok, rant over. Let’s get to the cool features!

So Many Question Types

Google has really ramped up their selection of question types available for forms. The traditional types have always been available: multiple choice, true false, short answer.

Their checkbox feature allows more than one correct answer , which is a huge game-changer in crafting quizzes that move away from just choosing C.

Short answers have the ability be self graded, but can be a little tricky to anticipate for spelling and random capitalization errors so you have to check them over.

Long answers and essay questions are also possible, but those need to be self-graded. However, think of all the time you’ll save only grading the essay questions because Google will do the rest!

Feedback Options

Google Form Quizzes provide multiple opportunities for real-time and timely feedback to students. In addition to allowing students to view their scores as soon as the test is complete, you can also attach immediate feedback to any test question.

Forms even allows you to customize feedback based on the response. If the student answers correctly, you can give them a virtual pat on the back.

Opportunities for Review

If one of our goals is the mastery of subject material, giving students the ability to review answer and try again is key. That’s why I love the incorrect answer feedback! The buttons at the bottom of the window (yellow) allow you to attach a link or a video. If the student gets the question wrong, they can watch a video or read through a text and try again!

Automatic Grading!

Google Forms allow you to create an answer key and set point values (even for long answers), and then it will grade the answers for you. Once students submit the quiz, you get all the responses in not only a handy spreadsheet, but in a host of charts that break down each question. Details are in our help doc.

This little trick will save you a lot of time in the long run, as well as provide some incredibly useful data for by whole class, by question, and by individual student. Now you can quickly identify where students are struggling and where to target your teaching!

Review Questions Quickly

I don’t know how new this feature is, but I was delighted to discover you can now select a question and see all student responses for that one question. With essay questions, this is great because you can read each one, check a box to assign credit, and add feedback right there.

Sometimes Kids Can Be Turkeys

One of the biggest challenges in secondary teaching has always been creating quizzes that are cheat-proof. In a remote world, this problem has grown new challenges. In a classroom, it’s far easier to walk around the room and see if a student has their phone out. Over a Zoom meeting, this is much more difficult.

Teachers have made great leaps in practice over the years in developing assessment tasks and questions that are non-Google-able in a Google-able world, which is one of the best strategies to prevent cheating. But even so, students can always find inventive ways around even our best methods for locking things down.

Creating Password Protection

The brilliant Samantha Groess, responsible for our help docs on Google Docs and Online Explorations, also shared asolution to add passwords to Google Form Quizzes. I mean, really. It’s so much genius I can’t stand it!

Sam wanted to be able to post her quizzes on Google Classroom, but didn’t want students to be able to access or see the quizzes until it was time to take them. So these are the steps she took to password protect them:

Create Question #1

For your first quiz question, ask for a password.

In order for this to work, your question type can only be short answer, checkboxes, or a paragraph. (Usually for a password you want it to be short answer.)

Add Response Validation

Click the three dots on your question and select Response Validation. A dropdown menu will appear under your question. This is where you make the rule for your password.

Set the Rule

I chose to make the password a number, and selected equal to in the dropdown so there is only one password. I entered the unbreakable password of 12345, and added a message if someone gets it wrong.

See more about making rules here.

Add a New Section

Click the equal sign that hovers to the right and a new section will be created. You can see my first question is now Section 1 of 2, and my Quiz Questions are all located in Section 2.

That’s it! You are password protected!

A Note

A feature of Google Forms is the ability to shuffle the question order, which was useful when students were sitting next to each other taking quizzes. If you use the password hack, you can’t shuffle question order because then your password will be buried somewhere in your quiz.

What a Student Sees

Now, if a student enters the incorrect password, they get my error message. If they enter the right password, they are taken to the next section and can start the quiz!

A Few More Tips

There are many videos readily available on locking down Google Form Quizzes to prevent students from sharing test questions and answers. Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Create slightly different forms for each class period. Yes, this is a bit of a pain, but Google does make it a little faster if you make a copy and modify the questions.
  • Set (reasonable) time limits. This can prevent students from looking up information in another screen or on their phones.
  • Add the answer key AFTER the test results have been submitted. You can create a quiz and send it out to students. Once the results are submitted, enter in the answer keys and release the scores.

The Help Doc

We hope this helps you save time, something we know is always a commodity for teachers, but especially now. If you want more details about how to do any of these things, try our help doc here. If you have a tip for using Google Form quizzes, please leave it in the comments below!

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