Why Random?

I am working to randomize my assessments. Well, actually, I’ve been working on this for the past couple of years. What do I mean by “randomized assessments” and why am I am doing it? It’s those two questions that I want to speak to in this blog post.

First, we all know students like the easy way out, especially if that way involves less thinking for them. (Aww heck, stop acting like it’s only students that avoid cognitive load, we *all* do this. But I digress….) Assessments are always getting the short end of the stick, which means that students will take the easy way out and cheat, copy, or avoid work on a quiz, homework assignment, test or assessment (summative or formative).

Second we know that Standards Based Grading (SBG) is here to stay in many schools, departments and classrooms around the country. Part of our schools SBG implementation is a lenient re-take policy. Now this second fact collides head on with the first fact which I mentioned at the start of this post.

What to do? My proposed solution to this dilemma is the randomized assessment. And here’s where my technical ability or opportunity met my need or provided a way to realize my aspiration.

I use random number generators in JavaScript code in a PDF, or random number functions in Excel spreadsheets to make Randomized Assessments. Here are the benefits that I have noticed so far:

0. A randomized assessment does not have identical questions, they are similar but not carbon copies, this is key.

1. It is not so important anymore to have absolutely silent classrooms during quizzes or tests.

2. A little collaboration or discussion can have educational value.

3. Re-takes are very easy to generate and are comparable to the original test / quiz.

4. I frequently have to give a rubric with the test / quiz which can help scaffold some students into generating good, and complete answers.


1. duplicating and collating a test takes a little longer.

2. grading tests a little longer, but it is so nice to see students collaborating on methods and approaches and not just answers.

I am putting my stuff up on

· www.teacherpayteachers.com for a modest fee to help support development costs (actually chocolate, truth be told)

· www.sharemylesson.com (will have a link back to TpT)

· www.tes.com (will have a link back to TpT)

· www.amazoninspire.com (will have a link back to TpT)

· Any other site I can think of or come across…

When I say “stuff” I mean that I am asking you to contribute a little to get the PDF or the Excel spreadsheet that you can use to generate randomized assessments. You can always see a sample or two for free to see what you are going to be getting. I will post free samples at each of those, but you will have to go through TpT to get the original.

Thanks for reading!

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