Teacher Showcase: Edcite-formatted Exams with Katherine Jensen

Check this out to hear about Katherine Jensen, Northview math teacher, adminstering semester exams in Edcite for better AIR test prep.

PARCC and AIR tests have caused their due portion of stress and anxiety for all of us, but after years of adjustment, they’ve also led to some noticeable instructional changes in our classrooms. One such change, which Sylvania teachers are adjusting to more and more every day, is the implementation of digital tests and quizzes. Going digital allows students to become used to completing challenging work on a Chromebook. But, of course, that only really helps them prepare for AIR tests if the digital activities push past the traditional multiple-choice model of assessment. Assessments that include drag and drop items, graphing tools, sentence select interactions, and more are necessary to really prepare students for the tests. Google Forms doesn’t do the trick, and the rest of the free and premium digital landscape is pretty scant.

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An Algebra test item with the equation editor function

But, Katherine Jensen, math teacher at Northview High School, is figuring out how to solve that problem and give her students digital assessment experience. This past semester, Katherine developed her exams for her Algebra I and College Prep Math students through Edcite, the free digital assessment platform that offers nearly seventy different digital question types, many of which are explicitly aligned to AIR, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced state tests. She used three to four different question types per exam to give her students a variety of interaction with math tasks. So, this year, instead of bubbling in Scantron sheets, students were clicking mice. Instead of drawing with pencil on graph paper, they were plotting points and dragging lines on digital coordinate planes. The impact ranged from null to huge.

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An Algebra test item with the graphing tool function

On the null end, Katherine did not notice any appreciable difference in grade results. Students were demonstrating the same sorts of mastery they demonstrated on paper exams. In the middling range, Katherine was grateful to avoid fussing with Scantrons, both in organization and grading. She and her students received instant feedback on structured response items, and Katherine also had instant access to detailed and user friendly grade reports. The tests were also much simpler to modify in the case of errors or improvements; changes are instantly available to students with no worries about returning to the photocopier or announcing changes. On the huge end, students were interacting with the same digital tools they will use when facing their AIR tests in March and April, but they weren’t doing it in some detached, artificial test preparation environment. They were doing it in the course of regular instruction, a seamless approach to state test prep.

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An Algebra item requiring a written response

Katherine is excited to continue with digital assessments through Edcite, and she’s already developing more. While she admits that the learning curve for Edcite content development may seem steep, once question types are learned, creation become simple. She’s interested in learning from some minor problems with the exam (like students using the x for multiplication instead of the x for variables in the equation editor) and adding more writing activities. Whatever course her work may take, one thing’s for sure. Her students will walk into a testing room better prepared to succeed than many of their peers around the state.


Test Preparation

Check out the AIR and ACT resources developed by the district for the 2017 testing cycle.

Click on the images below to access the independent websites developed to support teachers in preparing their students for the AIR and ACT tests in 2017. These resources were developed by and for secondary teachers and explored at the January 26th late start resource workshops.



Resource Introduction: Edcite

Want to make your own AIR-style assessments? Check out Edcite!

What is it?

Edcite is basically an assessment generator, but it differs from generators like Socrative or Google Forms in some important and impressive ways. First, it allows the teacher to choose from a much wider range of questions types, many of which present the sort of challenges that students face on AIR tests and other next generation assessments, like drag and drop, sentence select, and more. In fact, Edcite offers nearly seventy different question types.

Like Kahoot, Edcite offers the ability to share and find publicly available assessments, which can make life much easier.

It also provides many of the same basic tools assessment generators provide, such as easy grading interaction and student data analysis through classrooms that you establish and use to provide assessments. Students can receive instant (or delayed) feedback; teachers can access detailed data reports.

Yes, the basic version is free, and you will not encounter a pay wall that locks you out of the coolest features on the service. It also offers a Google login, so creating and managing an account is simple.

How can I use it?

You can use Edcite to create and manage your own assessments, and it will offer you a greater range of assessment possibilities than Google Forms or Socrative. But the best value of the service is its ability to provide a framework for creating AIR-style tests. Use it to transform your tests into AIR format or to provide AIR-aligned tests on a straightforward, digital platform.

Don’t want to create these assessments yourself? Then find those that others have produced. As a test, click here to go to Edcite’s “Featured Collections,” collections of high-quality content from a range of content areas. You can also go to Sylvania’s AIR Preparation Resources site, which contains dozens of AIR-aligned assignments from all tested subjects and grades at the secondary level.

Are you or someone you know using this? Notify us, and we’ll post your or their name here as a building expert! Email to aclarkson@sylvaniaschools.org.

Check out Sylvania’s own tutorial series exploring how to create and find assignments and questions, manage classes, assign work, and examine data. Then, explore the links below for more!

Resource Links


Sylvania-authored two-page Edcite primer (This primer explores several basic Edcite functions through direct step-by-step process.)

Edcite Text-Based User Manual

Edcite Summary (1-Page)

Basic Help Resources: Directory of Print-Based Guides (This link leads you to several short guides designed as printables)

Edcite Factory Guide (A handout given to teachers working in the Edcite Factory; contains detailed instructions on many tasks related to accounts, classes, and assignment creation)

Signing up for Edcite (video)

Creating and Finding Assignments (video)

Creating Questions (video)

Using the Question Library (video)

ELA Example: Rhetorical Study of President Obama’s Back-to-School Speech for 7-8