Using Google Forms for Assessments

Those moments in teaching when everything goes wrong can be haunting. I will never forget the first time I used Google Forms to make an activity for my class. There were so many factors that I never even considered. I just created the Form and away we went. By the end of the class, I was in the fetal position, cowering under my desk. Well, not really. I am just adding drama to the story, but I certainly felt like that would have been appropriate considering how it went.

It's easy to get discouraged when something doesn't go right, regardless of whether it is technology or...well, pretty much anything we do in life. If you have used Google Forms in cooperation with your Google Classroom and had a similar experience, maybe this brief guide to Google Forms will help you return to try it again. If you have not used Google Forms, maybe you can learn from my mistakes.

In order to use Google Forms correctly, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What type of assessment am I looking to create? 

The type of assessment you want to do will dictate what options you will select when you create your Form. If your assessment is going to be a quiz, you may select options that are more limiting for students with regard to access.

2. In what time frame do I expect ALL of my students to take this assessment?

If you are setting this quiz or activity up as something that is to be taken in class and there is even the slightest chance that the students will not be able to finish in that class period, your settings will need to reflect that.

3.  What information do I want to distribute to my students when they are done?

Google Forms offers several options and communication methods for distributing students their results, even including an opportunity to see how the entire class answered questions. Whether you want to distribute results after everyone has finished or immediately is also a factor which can be controlled in the Forms settings.

If you can answer these three questions without hesitation, you are ready to create a Google Forms assessment. Since you are ready, here is a breakdown of the General Settings found in Google Forms:

"Collect email address"

This is important if you plan on grading the assessment. Just as it sounds, the form will be submitted with an email address associated with that student when they log in. 

"Response Receipts"

 If you decide to collect email addresses, this gives you the option to also send a copy of their answers to their email address. It does not tell them correct or incorrect answers. You can also do this individually at a later time with the correct and incorrect responses built in.

"Restrict to _____"

This option when selected will ensure that the Form will not be seen or taken by any user outside the school network, even including personal email address accounts of your students. Contact your network administrator if this option is not seen in your district.

"Limit to 1 response"

This option is important if you select the "Edit after submit" box. This option will only allow each authorized username to take the assessment once. If this is not checked, Google Forms will create a new blank assessment every time it is opened by the student.

"Edit after submit"

If you select this box, a student will be able to edit any response after they submit it. This is not recommended for a quiz or summative assessment because there is a chance a student may do their own open book editing after class. If you select "Limit to 1 response", students will be able to open the form again with their saved answers. By selecting these two boxes, a student that re-opens a submitted form will be told that they have taken the assessment and be given an option to edit responses.

(Note: In setting up your quiz, do not make questions required if you plan on the assessment possibly taking longer than one class day. Likewise, make sure your students submit, even if they are not done. Otherwise, everything they have done will disappear.)

"See summary charts and text responses" 

By selecting this box, students will be able to see what the whole class selected for their answers to each question without divulging which student selected what and any grade information. This functionality is more helpful when using forms for survey purposes, but could be a good way to show the students if there answers are with the majority or in contrast to the majority. This information could be shown and debate from the class could help solidify the question with background support from the teacher. Do not select this option with "Edit after submit" if you want to ensure that students are not just editing their assessment to match the majority instead of answering on their own.

A couple other tips for Google Classroom integration:

  1. After you create your Form and all the settings are perfect, you can easily assign it in classroom, save it as a draft, or schedule it to be assigned right before class starts.
  2. I would recommend creating a different form for each class if you have multiple classes taking the same quiz or assessment, unless you want to see all of the data combined and do not care about separating by class for grading purposes. And give them different names associated with the section or class period number. (Update: You can also create a short answer question worth 0 points where the students enter their period or hour. This will help sort the data as it comes back.)
  3.  As soon as the student submits the form, it will be marked as done without the student having to click anything. 
  4. You will still need to grade the written responses from the form, but multiple choice questions with correct answers marked will automatically be graded.
  5. You can also select "View responses in Sheets" in Classroom from the grading page of your assignment, so that you can see how many students have completed their Form. If it's a multiple choice assessment, you will also see their results graded automatically.
  6. In forms, always make every assessment a quiz. Otherwise, you will not activate the automatic grading feature. (Both options found under Settings in the Quizzes tab) If you choose to release grades later, forms will automatically send email results to students if student email is allowed by your school network.

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