Soon, our students will be taking some common assessments. The common assessment will be a paper/pencil test. (They’ll also be taking state-wide tests too, but that’s another story). Some of our students require special accommodations. One of the accommodations that is fairly frequent is to have the test read to the student. Traditionally, this has meant one of two situations:
- a parapro has been assigned to read the test to the student individually or
- a teacher (usually a special education teacher) has read the test to an individual or a small group of students.
Neither of these situations in particularly positive. The parapros work really hard. Sometimes though, they can be a little too helpful. Taking a highly trained special education teacher and having that specialists read the test, well, there are probably even better ways that their talents can be used. Either of these takes some of the control out of the classroom teachers hands. Either of those solutions come at a high cost as well.
I was approached with this situation. A teacher had planned on using Screencastify (which is a Chrome extension that allows for users to record video and audio) and recording the test. The plan was to put up a black screen and then read the test. The teacher was asking about how to share the recording.
We are also a Google Apps district, so the teacher knew that the recording could be shared via Google Drive. However, this lead to some problems. Once the link was shared, the teacher would lose control over the file. The file could be copied and disrupted. Not good.
However, Moodle allows for restrictions on users and files. The teacher already had a Moodle course set up. We set up a group for the students who need the test read (test listeners). Then we restricted a Topic (Tests Read) to just the group test listeners. This means that only the students who are part of the group test listeners will even see the Tests Read topic in the course. Within that topic, we created a page for this specific test. The teacher broke the test into sets of 10 questions. Using Audacity, a free audio recording program (but really, anything that could record audio and share the file would work), the test questions were read and recorded. Each set of questions was then uploaded onto that page within Moodle. Further restrictions on the time and date of the topic were instituted.
This allows the teacher to have control over the reading of the questions. The teacher only has to do it once. The reading can be used as many students as the teachers wants. The teacher has total control over which students have access to the files (remember, if the student signs into Moodle, that student MUST be a member of the group or they won’t even see the Topic). Once the students sign in, they can scrub through the test questions as they need to. The playing of the audio is handled directly in Moodle. For the students, it is very user friendly. For the teacher, the necessary control over access is present.