Dugga brings digital assessment to Australian schools in a new partnership with MTA - Education Matters Magazine
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Dugga brings digital assessment to Australian schools in a new partnership with MTA

Assessment. It’s a word that often elicits groans from both teachers and students alike. Teachers face stressed students, piles of paper, hours of marking and a choice to either completely reinvent the wheel or reuse a worn-out one.

However, change is in the air. Last year, Swedish company Dugga was awarded the Microsoft Education Partner of the Year award 2020 for providing a remarkable solution to address a significant global issue – assessment in schools.

Dugga is a digital assessment platform designed for the creation, completion and marking of all types of assessment, from the convenience of a web browser. Unlike a Learning Management System, which simply hosts assessment tasks that are created and completed elsewhere, Dugga is an assessment one-stop shop.

From question design to student completion and submission, from teacher evaluation to publishing feedback, Dugga provides a single solution for the entire assessment process. The platform heightens efficiency and allows for true accessibility for all students, across different types of assessment, within all subjects and year levels, from anywhere in the world.

Created for teachers by teachers, it’s no wonder that one of Dugga’s major drawcards is the significant reduction in workload that it achieves. Current subscribers report spending up to 70 per cent less time on the assessment process since using the platform. Of the 20 different question types that teachers can use to create an assessment, 14 of them are automatically graded by the system.

This means that they are marked as soon as the student hits ‘Submit’, allowing teachers to spend their valuable time focusing on the complexities of evaluating open-ended responses, rather than whiling away precious hours ‘ticking and flicking’. Marking short-response questions mixes manual and automatic grading, with Dugga supporting the teacher by detecting key words and phrases, while the teacher can manually approve other correct responses and add these to the suggested answer bank.

For extended-response answers, colour-coded highlighting and annotation features make giving specific feedback neat and easy. Teachers can write feedback for individual students or send feedback to the entire group with one click.

And great news for the many teachers who resent the pressure of allocating a final grade for their students – you never have to give it another thought!

Dugga aligns assessment results to a myriad of grading scales, including percentages, letter grades, 5-point scales and even stars for the little ones. The teacher just needs to choose which grading system they’d like to use.

The driving force behind Dugga’s conception was a passion to give each child equal opportunities and access to quality education. Co-founder Claudia Rademaker describes her vision as wanting to create a solution for teachers to ‘obtain a better, but also a more honest understanding of the skills, knowledge and abilities of their students’.

Any teacher can attest to the wide spectrum of needs that exist within a single classroom. Thanks to technology, students’ individual requirements are being increasingly met throughout instruction, and now, thanks to Dugga, these needs can be honoured through assessment too.

On the Dugga platform, students have the option to have questions narrated to them to help consolidate understanding of instructions.

The immersive reader feature allows students to see written instructions broken down into highlighted key words and to identify the literary features of their choice.

For students with EALD needs, teachers can allocate specific pupils the option of listening to instructions in multiples languages. Open answers can take various forms, from writing to inserting videos or images and sketching drawings to demonstrate understanding.

Every teacher has a story about that bright mathematician who couldn’t solve the word problem because of a gap in their reading comprehension.

The diverse question types in Dugga allow teachers to select tasks which truly target learning objectives, rather than make do with exercises in which demonstrating knowledge of the outcome is dependent upon mastery of completely different skills.

As well as question types used across various subjects such as ‘Fill in the gaps’, ‘Annotate the image’ and ‘Order the statements’, there are also questions designed specifically for science and maths units.

The user-friendly interface makes Dugga incredibly easy and intuitive to navigate. The student dashboard contains a calendar featuring upcoming assessments, as well as a bank of completed tasks with marks and feedback from the teacher.

For those classrooms that use Microsoft Teams, Dugga can be integrated seamlessly; students simply open their Teams calendar and click on the Dugga event to commence their assessment.

With school life down under having returned almost completely to normal since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, do we really need digital assessment when students are no longer learning remotely?

The secure nature of Dugga ensures the facilitation of fair and unbiased testing no matter whether students are at home or in the classroom.

There are four different security modes available to suit the type of assessment which is being conducted.

The lockdown browser feature dissuades students from exiting the test webpage and automatic plagiarism analysis helps to keep students honest throughout the assessment. Submissions come to the teacher’s dashboard as anonymous, so students’ knowledge and skills are evaluated purely on their assessments, regardless of external factors.

In this digital age where technology is an increasingly supportive partner for student learning, Dugga is sure to become a fast friend.

The team at Dugga has successfully come up with a practical solution to digitizing assessment in schools that enhances assessment quality and flexibility while simplifying the whole process.

A free trial of the platform is available to all who are interested through Dugga’s exclusive partner in Australia, Modern Teaching Aids. Comprehensive start-up training and support is available from Dugga experts as well as a library filled with instructional videos.

If technology paves the way for the future of education, then Dugga is the next step. Give it a try today!

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