In case the teacher cannot find any suitable online materials or demands more flexible or very specific activities, the LMSs offer developmental tools in which the activities can be easily created. These tools interactively lead the teacher step-by-step through the set of forms in which the teacher inserts the task-setting, the type of the answer, the expected answers and the feedback and scores adjusted with the respect to the correctness of the answers. The task-setting window usually allows including multimedia items.
As the LMS integrates the automated correction system and generates the students' performance statistics the LMS represents an effective tool for testing grammar, vocabulary, listening and reading skills. Unfortunately, the LMS is not able to generate the statistics from the external online exercises which are only linked to the system, thus the tests must be created directly in the particular LMS using the same developmental tool mentioned in the paragraph Practice.
Apart from the standard test design functions mentioned in the above paragraph (see par. Practice) the test-designing tool offers other settings applicable especially for testing. These setting can prevent the pupils from cheating. The teacher for example can set up the time limit. David Webster (2006) states: “There is nothing stopping remote users from looking up answers on the Internet, or talking to others – and a time limit for a question is one way this can be discouraged.” The LMS also allows the teacher to create a categorized stock of activities. These activities can be randomly chosen to be placed in the test and be presented in random order.
The Evaluation and Assessment of Students’ Work
The LMS systems collect different data about the students’ activity that includes the data about the materials and the pathways though which the students accessed them, and results and scores that the students gained by completing the tasks and number of attempts they needed to complete the task. The grades are automatically generated by the exercises created in LMS or provided by the teacher during skill work. “Most
web-based course management software contains an assessment module which allows you to set and mark self tests and more substantial assignments.” The grades can be accessed through the grade-book which allows the teacher to manipulate them. The teacher can, therefore, display all results of one student or the grades that all of the course members gained in one activity. These settings can help the teacher to compare the students’
results and see the students’ language level development.
3.2 EXERCISE TYPES
This question form requires that the students type a response to a certain question in a box. The answer can be a single word, but also a longer phrase and more than just one answer can be correct. However, developing such activities which include this technique, the teacher should keep in mind one important thing. The answer assessed as correct is the one that precisely matches a record in the list of accepted answers. “The answer could be a word or a phrase, but it must match one of your acceptable answers exactly” (Collman, 2006). That is why, in order to minimize the occurrence of the incorrect answers, the teacher should carefully place the questions, so that the number of possible answers is narrowed to a necessary minimum. See the following example.
What is Aunt Polly doing?
− Aunt Polly is eating an apple.
− Aunt Polly is eating.
− She is eating an apple.
− She is eating.
− She's eating and apple.
− She's eating.
Pic 1 short answer item
All these answers are the correct, thus they should be included in the list of the acceptable answers. In this exercise the question was specified by the provided example. The required words for the answer were placed in the brackets behind.
This kind of item presents the students with options they have to choose in order to fulfil the stated task. Compared with the Short Answer question type the Multiple Choice items provide more security in terms of the number of the possible answers. The range of possible answers is limited to the number of provided options. The number of correct answers can vary from Single-answer questions to Multiple-answer questions.
The Single-answer question can include only one correct solution of the task, while the Multiple-choice answer requires more than one correct option.
See the following examples.
This is a kind of multiple choice exercise, which offers only two options. The students is presented with a statement and asked to decide whether the statement is True or False.
Pic 2 The Multiple answer question item Pic 3 The Single-answer question
Embedded Answers (Cloze)
In its purist form the cloze represents a gapped test in which every nth word is omitted and replaced by the gap. Harmer (2001) claims that “Some are more difficult to supply than others, and in some cases there are several possible answers.” However, the computer does not allow matching each gap with more than one expression, hence; the deleted words must be precisely recoverable. Harmer (2001) suggests that the precise item recoverability can be achieved by using the “modified” cloze, which provides the option to delete other than every nth word (p. 324). The other solution to the recoverability problem is that the computer provides an Embedded Answer. This question type consists of a text in which the Multiple Choice questions are inserted.
The computer allows the teacher to design two kinds of matching exercises. In the first exercise type the students match the items from one list of items with the appropriate items from another list. See the following example.
The other example represents the tasks in which the students classify the items according to the group or class they belong to.
Pic 5 Classifying Pic 4 Matching item