Using Forms to Gather Data

online_quizI spent some time this summer familiarizing myself with PHP and MySQL coding. In the process I conceived of an idea to create my own web-based database to gather student data. The main advantage to this for me has been the ability to create paperless tests. So far I have used it to create multiple choice quizzes for all my classes that grade themselves instantly and immediately give grade feedback to the student.

The students like it because they don’t have to write anything, get their grade results instantly, and its quick. I like it because it means I don’t have to waste time sifting through answer keys and stacks of papers.

test_resultsI put in a little legwork to design the form, and now every week’s quiz is a matter of some cutting and pasting, a change in code here and there, and BAM! instant grading.

The results are sent to MySQL database and I can access them immediately after testing. I also am working on using the database to run all my grading including rubrics for other types of assessment. I have so far created a rubric form with a dropdown list auto populated with student names, and a check box rubric which I can use with student assignments. It grades, and converts into percentages, sends the data to the database and updates automatically. It makes grading my student’s blogs and wiki pages very seemless.

Thanks to my new fully equipped lab facilities this year, I am having much success going paperless in the classroom. I haven’t spent very much time standing in line for the copier or dealing with paper jams at all this year.

Interested in doing the same? A great place to start is with Google Forms. They won’t auto grade your tests, but you can use forms to create a nice easily graded spreadsheet that can be saved. Not enough? Want to get started hosting your own quizzes online? Let me know, I’d be happy to help. I’ll be posting some of my scripts on this blog in the coming months as I work out all the bugs and have time to turn them into templates.

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