What are the pros and cons of using technology to assess student learning?


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There are two major pros to using technology to assess student learning.  First, assessing student learning via computer is faster and more efficient than doing it in other ways.  Computers can simply score student work as the students take assessments.  This means that teachers do not have to take the time to grade the tests themselves.  Second, assessing student learning via computer is more objective than doing it in other ways.  If human beings grade student assessments, they are likely to have problems being fair.  They might grade a particular test badly based on their mood, or the fact that they are hungry, or the fact that the student has bad handwriting.  Computers are not subject to such problems and all assessments will be graded objectively.

The main con to doing this is that tests that can be given by computer are inherently limited.  These tests have to be multiple choice.  Computers cannot, at this point, judge written answers.  They cannot judge projects that students submit.  They can only grade such things as multiple choice or true/false questions or questions where the answer is a number.  This severely limits the sort of subject matter that can be tested and the sorts of skills that can be tested.

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What are the pros and cons in using technology to facilitate learning?

The main benefit of using technology in teaching is that it enables the teacher to present information in a variety of ways.  The main disadvantage is that it is costly in set-up and maintenance, both in terms of time and money.

Teachers can use the internet to access information and help their students access it. Smartboards and document cameras allow teachers flexibility and the ability to adapt lessons on the spot in ways that chalkboards and overhead projects cannot.  Handheld technology such as smartphones, touchscreens, and tablets allow students to interact with the teachers, and each other, in different ways.

The disadvantage of technology for student use is that teachers need to expend additional time and effort on tech-based classroom management.  If students all have laptops, for example, teachers need to take time both to monitor use and to troubleshoot.

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