I had a question I was hoping someone could help with. I am interested in using a web-based tool for assessment. I am following the mastery teaching model where students are (mostly) self paced so I need a variety of versions of tests as well as different questions on different tests (but covering the same standards). Moodle has been recommended as a good tool. Any pros/cons I should consider before diving in? Are there other online assessment tools that may be better? Thanks!

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I just finished creating a test for the book we're reading using Moodle. Moodle allows me to upload a lot of questions and I can set it so that it randomly picks X number of questions for the test. If I had this set up so that the students could take the test an unlimited amount of times, they will receive different questions or at least a mixture of old and new questions every time they take the test.

Moodle is a frustratingly wonderful platform. It takes time to learn and is not intuitive. There are a lot of options for setting up a quiz and the time investment up front is rather heavy. However, the advantages are worth the time. The questions you create stay in a question bank for future use. You can pull questions from different categories to create a new but similar and familiar assessment. You can set it up so that students have instant feedback, their grade upon completion of the quiz, an opportunity to retake the quiz and better their score and a few other things.

If you are setting up a self-paced course and teaching for mastery, I think Moodle will fit your needs. Just remember that it will take time to learn the interface. I recommend buying books and watching videos on how to do it if you can't get hands on training in your area.
I use Moodle for my biology, chemistry, and physics classes. Each use the quiz tool for lecture and module testing. In total I have about 200 Moodle quizzes/exams that are in active use at any one time because I have both a live and asynchronous option in the courses which means that students can be at multiple points in the course at any one time. Currently I have a total of 162 high school students. I cannot imagine doing this without some of the tools and automation that Moodle provides

Pros:

I have the lecture quizzes designed with lots of tips and helps, the kids can take it multiple times, and only the highest score goes to the grade book. The idea with these is for the kids to very quickly catch if they didn't catch something that they should have. I like that they can get immediate feedback on individual questions because there is a separate submit button for each question individually or they can take the whole test then submit. Since the goal is to catch problems in their comprehension early, it is ideal.

The exams are more assessment-oriented. These are one try, not hints and tips, prove you know it types of tests.

The same quiz tool is used, but variations in the settings can allow you to make the test exactly as you please.

As far as the question bank goes, I love that the questions can be easily mixed and matched into new quizzes and even shared between courses.

The scores are automatically updated to the grade book. We have our Moodle set up with a custom role (not hard to do, but requires the co-operation of the Moodle admin) that even allows parents to have accounts and access their student's grade book and activity reports from their own log in. It helps to have parents in the instant access information loop about their student's progress.

Cons:

You have to have Moodle running on a server. If your district already has it, it will just be a bit of a learning curve for you up front on how to make and score quizzes. If your district doesn't have it yet, there will be approvals and techs to get involved. Moodle is a bit of a RAM hog. It needs to be on a server that will provide it adequate RAM use to run fast. We had ours on a shared host for a while and speed was noticeably slow. We now have it on a dedicated server where it has the majority of the RAM and disk resources. It is quite snappy now.

If the students are working at their own pace and therefore you will have quizzes to watch over the entire course, please be sure that you get the ungraded assignment add on. It is free, but will need someone with admin access to install it. This ad on block will help you to see all quizzes and also assignments that have anything that needs to be hand scored. Sure, you can make your tests entirely with the question types that computer score, but I have found that the essay type (basically anything requiring a sentence or more) are too useful a question type to not use so that you never have to hand score. The computer scoreable questions though definitely reduce grading time to a fraction of what it would be otherwise though. With the ad on, you not only see what is waiting to be scored in a block in the sidebar, but there is a direct link to the student's quiz that you need to score. Before I added this block on, I would have to individually look at every quiz in the course in the manual grading section of the quiz to find the ones waiting for scoring. The block is essential to add on if you are going with a design where the students go at their own pace and you must monitor the entire course's quizzes because of it.

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I have worked with Moodle for many years and have found it to be very effective for online classes, to allow students to go at their own pace, and to administrate a course with the many useful tools that it has built in.
What you describe sounds fantastic. I'm just getting started with Moodle, but do you know if there are banks of already-written physics problems that can be imported? Before I write the questions for an entire course I thought I would look around, but I haven't found any repository for high school physics problems. Thanks!
The questions that I have in my course are based on the textbook we are using (with permission from the publisher). If we are using the same textbook, I would be allowed to share. What textbook are you using with your students?

Also, is your physics algebra- or calculus-based? I could help you track down open-source material if I knew which of those two levels you have
I already have CAPA, which works for the AP level, but I have both a Physics First class and a 11-12th grade algebra based course. I'm using a course called "Energizing Physics" for the 9th grade - unpublished, alpha version you could say. I don't have a book for my 11-12th grade class; I am writing worksheets somewhat inspired by "Workshop Physics" with the relevant material embedded, and posting mini lectures on youtube. I'm pretty devoted to using workbooks rather than textbooks, but of course there aren't so many to choose from yet. What book(s) do you use for physics? If you have pointers to any open source question banks for algebra-based physics that would be great. Thanks!

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