|Banks Tab||Links||Points Tab|
|Details Tab||Math Symbol Editor||Questions Tab|
|Image Editor||Passages Tab||Text Editor|
In Classroom, the word "assignment" means any piece of work given to a student which culminates in a grade. There are three types of assignments:
- Formative Assessments
- Summative Assessments
Coursework is any sort of standard homework or directive. It can include projects, reading chapters or books, field work, essays, lab notes, etc. Coursework comprises the day-to-day tasks given to students for which they will receive a score or grade. And while a grade is the ultimate objective, there is no requirement that coursework is scored or graded.
Formative assessments, or progress monitoring assessments, are the quizzes and tests which help students review what they have learned and provide the teacher with information on whether the student is gaining competency in the subject matter. In Classroom, the answers to questions can include a distractor analysis. This is information about the answer choice, and is another opportunity for the student to engage in learning. Distractors provide immediate feedback to the student as to whether or not an answer is correct. If taken on-line, the formative assessment, with the use of distractors, allows the student to modify any incorrect answer before submitting the assessment.
Summative assessments, or benchmark assessments, are final exams or term exams, usually required by the district, which are given only a few times a year. Just like a state-required assessment, summative assessments usually remain a part of the student's permanent record. Any summative assessment administered through Classroom can be migrated to Homeroom. This is a district-level decision. But, after taking a summative assessment on-line, the results are available the next day in Homeroom, allowing comparison to other state and third-party assessments. Classroom, though, does allow a teacher to use summative assessments without porting them to Homeroom. Using summative assessments, based on standards that must be mastered, can provide educators with the opportunities to show student growth.
The culmination of all assignment types is a term grade. These can be given by standard, by learning target, by competency or via the traditional grade literal (A, B, C, 1, 2, 3).
To create a new assignment, go to Assignment Templates, New Assignment Template link from the directory tree on the left, or by selecting the Assignment Templates link from the Compose section on the Home page.
You are presented with a blank New Assignment Template. Navigating through the New Assignment Template is easy. There are tabs across the top, Details, Standards, Passages, Questions, Points, and Banks. Selecting any of the tabs takes you to that section of the form. There are drop down lists which contain the acceptable values for many of the form fields. Use the Continue button to step through the form in wizard fashion and use the Cancel button to exit at any time. Make sure you select Save & Continue or Save & Exit if you want to keep your work.
At any time you can use the breadcrumbs across the top to access previous screens. You can also use your browser's Back and Forward buttons.
Also, many of the fields listed on the form are optional. While this information is not necessary to create the assignment it will help other educators to locate the assignment during filtering and searching.
Every section of an assignment which can contain text has a text editor. One thing to remember while composing...you are creating a document for the web. What you create will be read by various browsers on various operating systems. It is not quite the same as creating a document in a word processing program. There are features you may not be used to, and ones you expect to be there which are not. Most of the common text formatting features are available though, like bold, italics, and indent.
The text editor tools menu also has a feature to link to another document, and to insert images. It also has a math editor.
When you select the insert link icon, the only field required is the address or location of the page you want to link to, this is called the URL. Select the browse folders icon.
You are redirected to the Moxie Manager, which is a file storage utility. From here, you can upload documents or select from documents already in your library. We recommend you use a good naming convention, or very descriptive file names as your list of documents and pictures could get very long. For more information on using MoxieManager, read the article "How to add files to MoxieManager".
Once you select a document to link to, the URL is filled out for you. The Text to Display is what the student or educator will see when reading your assignment. The Title is information for your browser. We suggest you set the Target to New window, that way the user will have two browser windows open, your assignment and the document.
To add a picture to your assignment, select the image icon from the editor's toolbar. The only field required is the source, or the location of the image.
You are again, directed to Moxie Manager. Upload a new image or select an image already in your library. We recommend you use a good naming convention for your images, too.
Once you select an image the source address is filled out for you. The image description is information for the browser. You can limit the size of the picture when it is displayed by setting its dimensions. These units are in pixels. The most common display measurement for pixels is 72 pixels per inch. If you select the Constrain proportions box, the image will never change size, even if the student or teacher increases the size of their browser window. We recommend you do not select this option as it hinders people with visual impairments.
And for educators who are composing assignments which require mathematic symbols and complex formulas, there is the WIRIS editor. We understand it is one of the best available on the market today. Use the point and click features to enter a variety of formulae. Once you select Accept, the formula is added to the question. We highly recommend you do not enter only a formula into a text box, as the box will look empty in any list. We recommend you enter at least one word along with the formula in the text area; a simple phrase, like "Solutions for x".
The Details Tab
The Details tab contains an introduction to the assignment as well as searchable tags. There are many optional fields here, but you must, at the minimum, enter a Name and a Type (marked with an red asterisk). The default assignment type is Coursework. Choose the Assignment Category if the option is available. To learn more about Assignment Categories and how they enable the calculation of overall grades read this article. Enter Description information, which will be displayed when scoring to help identify the assignment.
We recommend you fill out all the optional information such as the Assignment Category, Description and the Teacher and Student instructions. In the Teacher Instruction Text area you can include any tips for administering the assignment, such as the scoring options or rubric, the estimated time the assignment should take, the purpose or intent of the assignment, or instructions on what should or should not be allowed as student aids. This is very helpful for any educator who is using the assignment for the first time. The size of the text box can be adjusted as needed using the icon in the lower right corner.
This information is only visible to the teacher.
While this is optional, if students will be viewing the assignment either on-line or on paper, we highly recommend you provide detailed information in the Student Instruction Text area. You can provide the step-by-step requirements for completing the assignment successfully, an estimate of how much time the assignment will take to complete, a scoring rubric, images, links to documents or websites they can use in the assignment, etc.
This information is visible to the student and the teacher.
As you step through creating your assignment make sure you select Save & Continue button. You can exit and complete the set up of the assignment later by selecting Save & Exit.
Settings - Assignment Settings
Score by Color Band gives you an optional method when scoring the assignment. You can set a raw score for each question, but apply a leveled value to the raw scores. This is called a color band value.
Randomize Questions & Answers on Student Taker mixes up the questions for students taking the assignment on-line. No two students see the questions in the same order, which reduces cheating.
Settings - Standards
Classroom was designed to be a standards-based gradebook. In order to utilize this feature to its fullest extend, standards should be added to all assignments. There is no requirement to add standards to assignments, however, we recommend it. If used, you can score and grade students based on standards. You may also find benefit from analyzing how the students performed against the standards.
To access the built-in standards banks in Classroom, select the Add Standards button from the Standards tab. To learn more about browsing standards read the article Using Filters to Browse Content.
From there, select which bank of standards you would like to access. All districts are loaded with several common standards banks including the CCSS, EALR & GLEs and the NGSS, however, there may also be district designed standards listed, for instance report card standards or those aligned with learning targets or competencies. Once you have browsed for and selected your standards, make sure you click the Add Selected button to save the standards to the assignment.
Mouse over any of the standards you selected to see them in detail.
The Passages Tab
Passages include any form of reading material you want to provide the student which relates to the assignment. This area houses the passages, and allows you to View and Edit them. The passages can be attached to questions later on the Questions tab.
To add a new passage, select the Edit Mode button.
Just like every other text area in Classroom, you can use the text formatting tools on passages. You can also add multiple passages using the Add Passage button. If you no longer need a passage, select the Delete Passage button. Also, if you need to increase the size of the text area, click, hold and drag the icon in the lower right corner of the window.
If you choose to copy existing text from other sources, we recommend selecting Paste...Special or Paste without Match Style (depending on the browser you are using), that is, paste the text only, not the formatting. Because you are creating a document for the web you'll want to avoid formatting codes from other sources.
Passages have a limit of 8000 characters. If your document is larger than the limit, use the MoxieManager to upload a link, and embed the link in the passage.
The Questions Tab
When creating a new assignment, you do not have to populate it with questions (for instance a student directive), however, that is the most common choice. You can either compose a new question from within the assignment, or add an existing question from a bank. If you choose to compose a new question from within the assignment, you are really creating a new question template. Select the Compose a Question button and follow the wizard. Please read this article for detailed information about creating a New Question Template.
If you chose to add an existing question, select the Add Question(s) button. Then chose either My Question Bank, to access questions you have previously written, or one of the district approved shared question banks. Fore more information about question banks read the article "Shared Question and Assignment Banks".
Once you have composed or added all the questions your assignment needs, there are a variety of actions you can apply to the questions. You can:
- Rearrange the question order. The questions will be numbered accordingly. If students take the assignment on-line, they will see numbered questions.
- Modify the question points. If you do this, remember to edit the Assignment Points as well, to match the sum of the question points.
- Manage passages. You must first use the Passages tab to add passages to the assignment in order to attach them to the questions here.
- Prevent the question from being scored by selecting the toggle Disallow Scoring. This provides a method to use the question as a container or to give the student a task which you do not intend to grade, but which they must complete (a directive). For example, "Collect five samples of local vegetation" could be the first question in a science lab assignment which is required to answer the remaining questions.
- Prevent the question points from being included in the overall assignment score, by selecting Omit Calc (calculation). This allows you to use the question for informational purposes, the student will receive a score for the question, but it is not calculated in the assignment score. A good example of this would be to enter a student's independent reading level, it's great information, but nothing on which the student is graded.
- Hide on Taker allows you to use the question as a divider for your own purposes, and prevents the question from being visible on-line by the student. The question is only visible to you and may help you with organizing an assignment.
- Remove or cut the question from the assignment. This does not remove it from your bank or the shared bank.
- Edit the question. If this is a question you composed, this takes you to My Question Templates. So, any changes you make for a question, even though you are within an assignment while editing the question, will be reflected in My Question Templates. That is, the change is global. This does not allow you to edit the question in any district-approved shared bank.
To rearrange the questions, click, hold and drag the Question Ordinal icon up or down.
The questions will be renumbered automatically.
To modify the question points, either click in the text field and enter a new point value or select the Points editor, which will take you to the Points tab of the question.
To manage passages, select the word "manage" which is a link.
In the popup window, use the toggles to the right of any assignment passages to "include" them with the question. You can attach multiple passages to a single question. Don't forget to select the Continue button when you are done.
To disallow scoring, omit calculation, or hide on taker, turn the toggles on or off by selecting them. Green means it is turned on.
The scissors mean cut or remove the question from the assignment. The pencil means edit the question.
The Points Tab
The majority of the time assignments are given to students for the purpose of a score or grade. In Classroom, the default minimum assignment point is 0 and the default maximum is the sum of the question points. Assignment points can be set up to simply be an indicator of whether or not the student met the standards attached to the assignment. However, points can also be broken into color bands, or performance levels, which provide a quick visual indicator to a teacher on where the students fell across a range for the assignment.
This example shows the default view for a new assignment template without any questions. Note you can remove the requirement for the assignment to have a score with the Disallow Scoring toggle. You can remove the requirement for the assignment to have thresholds with the Extra Credit toggle. This will allow the end user to give students extra points which will help a students grade; students who do not get extra credit will not be effected.
If the assignment has questions the sum of the question points equals the maximum assignment points. With no questions, therefor not points, the warning is shown; The assignment possible point value does not match the sum of the question points. This is fine and can be ignored as this example is an Assignment 'Bucket' to hold a score only, not for entering answers to individual questions.
You can see the default Decimal Precision is 1.0, the default Min and Max score or 0 and 5 respectively, and the default threshold count is 2. These are used to set up the color bands when the Go button is selected.
In this example, the educator has set a range of performance levels.
Start with the maximum points the assignment is worth and work backwards. When you set a minimum value greater than 1, a new option, Add Color Band, appears. Use this option to insert additional performance levels. A color band will be inserted between the existing bands. When you fill in the minimum values, Classroom will fill in the maximum values of the lesser performance levels.
You can change the label of the color band (performance level) and the color. You can even use decimal values down to thousandths! And you can mark which level indicates met standard using the Passing radio button.
The Banks Tab
In Classroom, shared banks are places where educators can deposit the assignments or assessments they have created in order to share them with other educators in the district. When you create a New Assignment Template you can choose to submit it to a Shared Assignment Template bank. A bank manager reviews the assignment for accuracy and relevancy. If approved, your assignment will become part of the shared bank.
To submit your assignment template to a bank, select Add Assignment Template Banks. A district can create as many banks as they need and each bank can have its own bank manager.
Click on the appropriate bank(s) from the list and then choose Add Selected. You can submit to more than one bank.
Your assignment will show Export Pending Approval. Once the bank manager reviews it, it may say "Export Approved" or "Export Rejected". If your assignment is rejected, the bank manager can add a comment as to why. You can always correct the assignment and re-submit it if necessary.
PLEASE NOTE: If approved, a duplicate of your assignment is created and deposited into the bank. This entirely new assignment has a new identification in Classroom and all connection to you is lost. Therefore, you cannot modify or delete your original assignment in order to modify or delete the assignment that is now in the shared bank. Only a bank manager can modify or delete an assignment in a shared bank. SDS highly recommends that you or a colleague carefully review your assignments before submitting them to a shared bank. Bank managers look to your professional judgment and experience when composing an assignment and therefore, their review may not be a thorough as yours.
[Updated: 1/29/15, prh]
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