Classroom Management






Sample Assignment for "An Arctic Year" Web Site

Videoconferencing Resources


An assessment plan for courses delivered by videoconferencing can be more complex than for regular classroom instruction because there are more components than an individual teacher and his or her students. These include especially the technology and the teaching partners at the receiving sites.

Assessing Student Work

The lead teacher is responsible for the design of the assessment plan and the selection or development of tools and criteria as an integral part of the overall course design. This includes deciding who will develop assessment tools, who will administer them, and how students will receive timely feedback about their performance. Assistance in development and administration of assessment can be assigned to teaching partners depending on their skills and training. Although some assessments can be administered by computer and transmitted to the teacher, effective administration of assessments at receiving sites almost always involves the teaching partner, at least for monitoring the activity.

What follows is a discussion of assessment tools, the roles played by the lead teacher and teaching partners, and issues related to the uses of tools in a videoconference class. A sample rubric and tools used by the North Borough School District can be found in Sample Assignment for "An Arctic Year" Web Site.

Assessing Activities and Daily Work

Teaching partners, guided by an outline of expectations provided by the lead teacher, assess students' daily work and performance in activities. Teaching partners' enthusiasm and involvement in class activities directly affect their students' attitudes and energy; therefore, he or she should hold students to high standards and take an active role in activities. The lead teacher generally provides plans for activities to teaching partners before the videoconference and allows adequate time for their completion during class.

Lead teachers are responsible for:

  • Clarifying expectations for student performance and participation
  • Providing activities and related materials to partners in a timely manner
  • Providing ample time for students to complete activities during class

Teaching partners are responsible for:

  • Reiterating expectations for student performance and participation
  • Implementing activities as the lead teacher has planned
  • Taking an active, enthusiastic role in activities
  • Assessing students' performance in class daily work and activities

Classroom Participation

Teaching partners assess classroom participation because only they see and work closely with all students at their sites.

Lead teachers are responsible for:

  • Providing guidelines and expectations for student participation
  • Providing students with opportunities to participate

Teaching partners are responsible for:

  • Reiterating guidelines and expectations for participation
  • Facilitating student participation
  • Assessing students' participation


Written tests evaluate students' factual recall and record their problem-solving strategies. Generally, a lead teacher writes tests for all sites, and teaching partners administer them to students. Teaching partners can grade these tests, but it is incumbent on the lead teacher to provide an accurate, clear key. In turn, teaching partners must communicate to the lead teacher any areas of weakness in student performance so they can be addressed in a subsequent videoconference.

After the test, the lead teacher should review the answers during a videoconference and provide an opportunity for students to ask questions. However, it is important to avoid taking video time with extended conversations over particular questions or issues, when teaching partners can address individual students' detail concerns.

Lead teachers are responsible for:

  • Writing tests
  • Writing keys
  • Providing teaching partners with tests and keys in a timely manner
  • Reviewing answers and providing feedback to all students

Teaching partners are responsible for:

  • Communicating to the lead teacher any problems with student performance
  • Administering tests
  • Grading tests
  • Addressing individual students' questions and concerns

Other Student Assessment Areas

For assessing each of the following student activity types -- Experiment Write-ups, Portfolios, Presentations, Projects, Visual Arts, and Writing -- the lead teacher's and the teaching partner's responsibilities are the same:

Lead teachers are responsible for:

  • Providing guidelines for assignment and criteria for assessment
  • Providing feedback and/or working with teaching partner to assess students' activity and product

Teaching partners are responsible for:

  • Communicating guidelines for assignment and criteria for assessment
  • Assessing students' product, either independently or in conjunction with lead teacher

Below are suggested strategies for assessing in each of these six areas.

Experiment Write-ups - Teaching partners should be the primary assessor of writing assignments about science or other experiments. Lead teachers may choose to have students present their results digitally with presentation software so that they can also provide feedback on students' work. This has several advantages. First, digital presentations of experiments, whether in a word processing application or in presentation software, can be shared easily with the lead teacher for evaluation and comment. Second, students can present their work and results to the entire videoconference class either during a videoconference, posted to the class Web site, or as an e-mail attachment. Third, the linear nature of presentation software works well with traditional scientific method investigations, which helps students write out procedures. Fourth, students can use digital images of the experiments' stages and results to jog the their memory when they write their final report.

Portfolios - Teaching partners should be primarily responsible for assessing portfolios. However, digital portfolios can be shared conveniently with the lead teacher for comment and evaluation. Portfolios can be created and shared with presentation or word processing software.

Presentations - The teaching partner should be primarily responsible for assessing presentations. Presentations provide students an opportunity to demonstrate how they use and understand the concepts that have been presented. Presentation software allows students to share images and audio as well as writing.

Projects - The teaching partner should be primarily responsible for assessing projects but should also have input from the lead teacher. The lead teacher must develop a rubric with clear and thorough criteria for the teaching partner to accurately assess student projects.

Visual Arts - Teaching partners should be closely involved in assessing students' artwork. The visual nature of videoconferencing facilitates the assessment of art because a camera can relay an image of the piece to the lead teacher, zooming in for detail, or a picture of the piece can be digitized and sent via e-mail attachment. The logistics of this process make it nearly impossible for lead teachers alone to provide timely feedback, and as with other graded assignments, the number of pieces a lead teacher would have to evaluate could be overwhelming.

Writing - In many cases, the teaching partner can evaluate written work. In a large class, the lead teacher might lack time to assess the written work of all students and is unlikely to have the time to give individual feedback. Although such feedback can be provided to receiving-site students by e-mail or fax, this process can be difficult and time consuming.

Guidelines for Assessing Teaching Partners

This section is designed to give lead teachers and administrators guidance in assessing teaching partners' performance. Lead teachers have a unique role: they supervise teaching partners by directing class content and activities, but they do not have supervisory authority over partners. Therefore, lead teachers must work closely with their own and teaching partners' building administrators to resolve problems that arise. As discussed in the Planning chapter, including receiving site administrators in the planning process helps them understand the goals of the videoconference program and the day-to-day issues teachers and partners face; this, in turn, paves the way for effective communication and the quick resolution of problems.

The following are important questions to ask when assessing teaching partners.

  • How well does the teaching partner follow the lead teacher's direction?
  • How well does the teaching partner maintain classroom discipline and motivation?
  • Is the teaching partner prepared for the videoconference:
    • Does he or she read lesson plans in advance and have supplies and ready for the videoconference?
    • Does he or she have the hardware and software ready prior to connecting?
    • Does he or she immediately communicate technical problems or lack of materials?
  • Is the teaching partner an active participant in the class?
  • How well does the teaching partner work with students to make the classroom an inviting learning environment?
  • How well does the teaching partner assess students?
  • How well does the teaching partner maintain direct contact with parents?

Guidelines for Assessing Lead Teachers

The following are questions that can assist an administrator in assessing the performance of a videoconference lead teacher. In most cases, the quality of a lead teacher's performance can be seen in the overall performance, enthusiasm, and effectiveness of teaching partners and students.

  • How effectively does the lead teacher align course goals and videoconference program goals with district goals?
  • How well does the lead teacher define goals and objectives for teaching partners and students?
  • How knowledgeable and enthusiastic is the lead teacher about the course content?
  • How well has the lead teacher trained teaching partners and students to use the hardware and software to facilitate interaction?
  • How well does the lead teacher communicate with teaching partners?
  • How well has the lead teacher prepared staff and students at all sites for each videoconference class?
  • Does the lead teacher make lesson plans, activity sheets, and other support material, and provide them in a timely manner?
  • How well does the lead teacher involve students in meaningful interaction, projects, and learning opportunities?
  • How effective is the lead teacher's on-air delivery and demeanor?
  • How well does the lead teacher use graphics to enhance lessons?
  • How smoothly are demonstrations and examples integrated into the overall videoconference presentation?
  • How well does the lead teacher take advantage of the capabilities of the videoconferencing hardware and software?
  • How does the lead teacher address equipment failures, changes in schedules, and other problems associated with videoconferencing?
  • How clearly do rubrics created by the lead teacher guide teaching partners in assessing student performance?



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