Google Forms Test Security

I get asked all the time how to make Google Forms secure for test taking so students don’t cheat.  Whaaaat?  Students want to cheat?  Whaaaaat?  This technology…now all the sudden kids what to cheat.  They never did that before.

Here are some ways you can make your Google Forms tests more secure.

Walk Around and Supervise

If you’re unable to walk around and make sure kids aren’t cheating then assume they are.  There’s nothing that will ensure test security better than the teacher walking around.  That said, sometimes you can’t walk around and supervise.  (Like when you go back to work after back surgery and have to teach in a back brace for three months.  I did no walking around during those tests. ) One of my colleagues says if you walk around you can tell who is trying to cheat because they are very concerned where you are while everyone else is focused on the test.

Here’s some other things you can do:

Use Sections

Sections split your test up into “pages.”  Then you can shuffle everything on that page.  If you have a picture with questions about it the picture may appear at the end of the webpage, but I’ve given hundreds of Google Forms tests and as long as students know that they might have to scroll up or down to find the image there has never been an issue.  In general, I try to limit the number of questions per section to less than 10.

Click on the equals sign to add a new section and shuffle the questions in the gears.  Questions are shuffled within each section.

Add a Code

You can add a code by using data validation.   The first section of my test is name, and the code.  I usually make my code a number and as soon as everyone is “in” the test I change the code.  This way, students can’t log in unless they get the code.  Require the question.  Pro-tip: Check your test before you pass it out.  I’ve had teachers say that the correct code showed up when students typed in the wrong answer.  I always use the “number” “is equal to” and then add “Sorry try again.”  I add the code in the first section so that students enter their name and then wait for me to give them the code then they start the test.  

Stop Accepting Responses

As soon as the last student is done, turn your form off.  This will prevent anyone from accessing it when you don’t want them to.  When I begin a test, I keep the form off and make everyone click on the link and get the “This form is no longer accepting submissions” page, then I turn it on and then I have everyone refresh and then they start.  I just like for everyone to be on the same page.

Remove the Link

In Google Classroom you can add the form directly by clicking on the Drive icon and adding it.  This will allow you to import grades (if you want.) One of my colleague doesn’t do this and instead posts the link to the form in Google Classroom and as soon as student have taken it, he deletes that post from Google Classroom.  If you do this you won’t be able to post your scores in Google Classroom.

Establish Test Taking Procedures

A long time ago I got some advice that was revolutionary: establish test taking procedures and if someone doesn’t follow them you don’t get accused them of cheating- they just haven’t followed the procedures.  I had a student log in from home and take a quiz once.  I was highly annoyed, but fair play to her because I hadn’t explicitly said they couldn’t.  I add to all of my assessments now “Only assessments done in class and supervised will be graded.” And then I establish these procedures:  “You can have these tabs open:  Google Classroom, the form, and a tab with the accent codes on there.  If you have any other tab open you will earn a zero for not having followed test taking procedures.”  I add this in Classroom and I say it.  You could also add it to the form if you felt like you needed it.

 

 

A Simple Brain Break

I’m not a super user of the brain breaks, but today at my after school expanded learning director’s meeting, Sandy Slade from Skillastics had us do a super simple brain break that I thought would work great for any language level.

She had us put our hands on our temples and said, “When I say one, touch your right hand to your left knee. Let’s practice.  One. One. One.  When I say two, touch your left hand to your right knee. Let’s practice…” And then she led us through a series where we were touching our knees on her command at an increasingly fast pace.  We also did a more complicated one where we clapped our hands and touched our knees.   I have zero capacity to follow directions like this in any language because I have negative coordination ability, so I was way behind with all of the commands, but it was fun and got everyone moving and I can’t wait to try it with my students.

Tackling Pronunciation with Technology

At the end of last semester I was wrestling with how to work on pronunciation.  Alas, I was tired of hearing “Il essssssssssssst anglaissssss” and so I started to brainstorm ways students might be able to work on this problem without me.  This particular pronunciation issue is, in my opinion, an input and reading issue.  Students haven’t had enough input and then they are reading the words wrong.  Nobody ever makes this mistake before they see the word est. So how could I have them get more input, while working on their reading at the same time?  Or how could I get them to focus on the fact that when they hear “il est anglais” and they say “Il esssssst anglaisssss” that that’s essentially a reading error and how could they do this without me?

Here’s what I did.

  1.  I wrote/got/copied three short paragraphs in a Google Doc.  I wanted them to have typical reading/pronunciation errors that Novices make.  I chose one that I wrote, one that I barely “edited” of Cyprien’s Twitter page and one Tweet that had words we had not necessarily practiced with.
  2. I had students install the Read &Write Extension from Text Help.  This is an amazing extension that will read whatever is on the page in multiple languages.  (Well, it’ll read whatever’s on the webpage and you tell it the language.  So if you want to listen to bad pronunciation put up a French webpage and then don’t change the language to French.  Icky, blech!)  Read&Write Extension does a ton of other things that Eric Curts has explained on his blog Control Alt Achieve.
  3. Students used the extension to listen to the paragraphs.  I asked them to listen times.  Once just listening.  Once by silently mouthing the words as they were read to them and once speaking aloud as they were read to them and then to practice the paragraph themselves and listen again.
  4. Students used the Voice Typing Tool in Google Docs to record themselves reading.  This is where it got interesting.  I practiced using bad pronunciation and it typed out my bad pronunciation.  It was my hope that the students would realize that when they saw “Il a 25 ans” but they said “il est 25 anse” that they would realize that there was an issue that they could work on or re-do.
  5. Students filled out a feedback form so I could see if they thought it would be useful.  Overwhelmingly students said that they thought that this type of practice would be useful.  Some students reported that the Voice Typing “didn’t work right,” but when I checked what Voice Typing had written, it clearly wrote out their pronunciation issues.  The students just didn’t realize that they were saying it wrong.  I think that is an issue I can deal with and is just a matter of familiarity with what they are doing and why.

What’s not clear is whether the Voice Typing tool will adjust to their bad pronunciation and write out the correct words even if the student says it wrong.  What also isn’t clear is whether this type of work will be effective.  I know pointing out pronunciation errors of this type rarely has a positive long term effect, but I also know that if a student feels like s/he is making progress and has something “tangible” to hold onto they will make progress.

What I’m thinking I will do is for each lesson build a document with three or four short, comprehensible paragraphs that students can use for optional practice as part of their goal setting and homework choices work.  Even if the pronunciation work is less than optimally successful, they will certainly benefit from listening and reading more.

I’d be interested to hear how you have used Voice Typing tools to work on pronunciation.

Looking Back at 2017 and Forward to 2018

So far my 2018 has not started off fantastic.  I either food poisoned myself New Year’s Eve or had a stomach flu.  Either way, I’m on the mend today and ready to do some reflection.

My Blog

2017 was my first full year of my Language Makerspace blog.  I had over 50 posts, which I can’t even believe I managed and I participated in the #edublogsclub, which sent a prompt a week.  I enjoyed having the prompts of different topics, I wouldn’t have thought about like this listicle of my favorite tools.

Most Popular Post

By far my most popular post was 18 Mix and Match Activities to Talk about the Weekend.  It got shared and shared and continues to be the most viewed.  It has taken me by surprise how many people have seen it.

It Was the Best of Times and the Worst of Times…in After School

Since 2009 I have coordinated our 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.  In a way, it’s my baby.  I started our program and have seen it grow and grow.  This year was a tough year for  21st CCLC- in March President Trump wanted to eliminate funding for it entirely.  Luckily this fall Congress secured our funding, but it was a rough few months of worrying.  I blogged about my feelings in May.

Firsts

This was a big year of firsts for me.

I made my first Tech Byte video series which involved making my first real YouTube Channel.   They are short videos that I sent first to my school and now to the entire district.

I was asked to present at the World Language Project/CLTA Summer Seminar in Santa Barbara.

I started using Flipgrid.  Please don’t ask me why I didn’t before.  There’s no reason for it because it is so simple and elegant and just basically fantastic. 

For the first time , I presented at ACTFL on my ideas about Ditching the Powerpoint for Interactive Slides.

I did my first ever interactive Google Forms presentation without Internet.  It went better than you would imagine for an interactive presentation on an Internet tool without Internet.

I went directly from one conference to another because…why not.

A goat in a coat placed a spell on me and I cleaned out my file cabinets.

I surveyed my class at the end of the semester and found out that they actually liked (gasp) the textbook and used it more than I expected; permanently ending my perpetual debate with myself about getting rid of it.

I got a PC.  This was a practical decision because I realized that as I was doing trainings, people would ask me questions about the PC and I didn’t necessarily have the answer.  It worked out well because MacBook Pro had to go back to be fixed because the space bar stopped working.  I named my PC “iPCPro” because I’m funny.  I’m committed to working on iPCPro exclusively until the college starts in February and I have to use accents again.  Because I can not.  For the life of me.  Figure out. How to make typing with accents as easy as it is on the Mac.  So far I like that I can sign in with my face.  I like that when I need to move the window of my goat to a separate screen it snaps to that screen size automatically.  And I’m excited to use OneNote which I have heard great things about.

Failures

Generally, I fail a lot at after school.  This year was no different.  I failed at successfully implementing our social media accounts.  This is in part based on my lack of interest in general in social media.  It was also because it’s just not that simple to snap a picture of students having fun and then to post it.  You have to go to the computer and check if anyone in the picture is approved for posting.  We have 2200 students.   I tried to get students to take the pictures for me, but then they would identify the students in the pictures as “Brittney, I think” which was not so helpful in checking in the system.  So I stopped because I couldn’t manage it.

I failed at getting my #actfl17 post posted before the end of the year.

I failed at getting to every teacher’s classroom in the first quarter to talk to them about if I might be able to help them with technology integration.  I visited about half of the teachers and it was worthwhile.  Next year, I’ll try to get to 75% of everyone.

I also failed at giving feedback to my students every week based on their Flipgrids.  I have a plan for that though next semester.  It is all loosely coming together in my mind, but I’ve got big plans.  Huge!

Ideas for 2018

I’ve always got lots of ideas.  Here’s my main ones for part of my job:

Improved goal setting activities for students involving powerful Google Sheets magic.

Hosting a 15 minute Tech Tool in my classroom once a week.

Spending ten minutes in each after school program at least once a week.  (That seems easy, but it’s not, there’s a lot going on in after school.)

Professionally, I am excited to continual to grow and learn from all of the great professionals I have met virtually and in person.  I am looking forward to a 2018 and all of the new possibilities and opportunities that may come-  Happy New Year!