Although the Ans platform is entirely digital, written assignments are made compatible and effective with Ans. As with digital tests, these written assignments can be created and formatted within the platform before being printed for students to take offline on location. Upon completion, the assignments are then scanned and once uploaded, they can be reviewed digitally. Reviewing the assignments on paper and foregoing the uploading process is also possible. After the assignment has been reviewed, the results will be presented in the same way as with other assignment types. Results can also be shared with students via Ans. Below you will find a comprehensive outline of the entire process to help guide you in using written assignments with Ans.
Create a written assignment
In order to create a written assignment, you must first navigate to the corresponding course. You can then click on New Assignment in the top right corner and select Written Assignment when prompted by the formulation page. You will be navigated to the written assignment window where you can add exercises from the question bank or create new exercises. Certain question types used in digital tests are not available for written assignments and vice versa. The overview of available question types can be found here. If you wish to add instructions or otherwise edit the cover page, this can be done by clicking the dropdown menu Customise layout, located at the top of the preview section.
Generate forms for printing
After you have created and formatted the written assignment to your liking, you can begin the process of generating forms for printing. Simply click on print Print in the bottom right of the preview section and indicate the amount of forms you wish to generate when prompted by the dialogue as shown below:
For example, if you wish to have ten students take the assignment, you enter ‘10’ as the amount of corresponding forms. Read the Print a written assignment article for more information. You can then click on Create for the platform to begin generating your forms. It may take a few minutes for this process to be completed depending on the amount of forms you wish to generate and the size of the assignment. An overview on how Ans processes the written assignments and the tasks that need to be handled can be seen in the following article: Processing Written Assignments. You can navigate away from the window while you wait. After a few minutes when you navigate back to the assignment, you can select print Print once more in the written assignment tab to be directed to the download dialogue. Note that the minimum number of forms you can generate is two. If you wish to generate just one form for printing, you can click on the download button folder folder, located under the dropdown menu Customise layout and print the downloaded file once.
If you wish to generate forms with the student numbers and the names of the students already written down on the cover page, you can generate a written assignment for classes. You can do so by clicking on print Print in the bottom right of the preview section and selecting Generate for classes. Ans will then prompt you to select the class you wish to generate the forms for. After you select the desired class you can click on Create just as before and follow the same procedure. Keep in mind, this option is only possible if classes have been set up by an administrator on school level.
Print a written assignment
Once the forms have finished generating and you select print Print again, the following tab appears.
You can click on Download or copy and paste the link in your browser in order to begin downloading a zip file with the forms. Please note, if you wish to create more forms after Ans has finished generating the initial forms, you can click on Need more forms? in blue under the download link. This takes you back to the generated forms dialogue where you can specify how many extra forms you wish to print. For example, if you previously generated ten forms but wish to make five more, you input ‘15’ under the amount button.
The forms will be downloaded in a zip folder with a unique pdf file for each student. Once you have extracted the files from the zip, you can begin printing. Any new forms generated (the five extra forms for example in the case above) will be added to the bottom of the zip file. The same file cannot be printed multiple times because each student needs to have their own unique assignment with a unique QR code. Files are printed in the same way as any other document. An overview of the steps can also be found here.
Take a written assignment
When it is time for students to take their written assignment, the assignments can be randomly distributed (unless the classes option is used). Students are then required to enter their student number on the cover page. This needs to be done in two ways. Students will need to write down their student number in the square boxes and also fill in their student number in the round numbered circles. The correct numbers must be crossed or fully coloured in the order of the student number. It is important that students fill in both options in case the scanning process encounters difficulties in recognising their student number. This number is necessary for Ans to automatically delegate the assignment to the corresponding student once the assignment has been completed and uploaded. A detailed overview on the cover page of a written assignment and how students should input their student number can be found in the following article: The cover page of a written assignment. Note: when classes are used and you generate an assignment for a class, the student number and name of the students are already written down on the cover page and thus the assignment cannot be distributed randomly.
Ans has a unique QR code on each page of the assignment. Part of the scan processing tasks is to combine different pages of an assignment of a student. This task makes sure that all pages of the assignment are combined into one assignment and the result can be reviewed. In case the students' pages get mixed up in some way during the taking session or while scanning or uploading, the pages will be correctly filtered to the right student and formatted in the correct order to make the reviewing process that much quicker and easier.
In case a student makes a mistake during the taking session of the written assignment and the student requires a new page, it’s important to keep in mind that every page of a written assignment is unique. Whenever an extra page is given to the student and that page has a different QR code, this will cause errors when uploading the assignment back into Ans. An overview of the possible errors and the steps on how to fix these errors can be found in this article. Instead, we would advise to always include extra writing space at the end of the assignment by adding a question without content or points. Optionally an entire new assignment can be handed out to the student in which the student takes over all the answers from the other assignment.
In case a student wishes to change an answer that was given to a multiple choice question or multiple response question, this can be done by colouring the circle or square completely. These instructions can also be communicated to the students by adding multiple choice instructions to the cover page. More information about these instructions can be found here.
Scan a written assignment
After the taking session of the assignment has been completed by the students, you will then need to scan the pages and upload them into Ans. In order to scan the pages, make sure to first cut off all corners of the assignments containing staples. Make sure to not cut the four black squares on the pages as Ans needs this to centre the page and properly process your scans. At least three out of the four black squares on the page should always be visible. You can then place all of the written assignments in the auto document feeder. Note: it does not matter in which order you place the pages, as Ans will automatically assign the pages to the corresponding student, assignment and course. The recognition used to assign the pages is based on the unique QR code on each page and the student number associated with each student. Make sure the scans have a resolution of at least 300 dpi and are in .JPEG or .PDF format. You can also upload a zip file with JPEGS of your assignments. All the requirements and tips listed for uploading your scans can be found in this article.
Upload your scans
Once all assignments are scanned, you can start uploading the scans back into Ans. Navigate to your institution by clicking on the domain School name in the menu on the left and click the tab print Print & Scan. You can then click on the New upload button in order to select the assignment you wish to upload. Ans will then begin processing the scans, which may take a few minutes. You can see a percentage corresponding to the progress of the processing on the right hand side.
Once all the scans have been processed and the status bar is at 100%, you will see the corresponding assignment and its results under Assignments. You can simply click on the assignment title in blue, to navigate to the review section. Alternatively, you may also navigate from the main dashboard to the corresponding course and assignment to view the results.
Fix upload errors
It may be the case that some errors are present in the upload of your scans. This could include a missing or unrecognised page, an unrecognised student number or duplicates. Ans will notify you if this happens and allow you to resolve this issue. The upload error ‘Unrecognised pages’ can be solved in the print Print & Scan tab by selecting Solve issues at the top of the scan page. Other upload errors are solved in the same tab by navigating to the assignment that has been uploaded and clicking on X missing or Solve issues. For a detailed overview and demonstration on how to resolve each type of error please navigate to the following article: Fix upload errors.
Review a written assignment
The reviewing process for a written assignment is very similar to that of a digital test. Ans will automatically review all multiple choice questions and allow the reviewer to look over the students answers to an assignment in the content_paste_search Review tab. Open-ended questions need to be reviewed manually. A detailed explanation of the review process can be found here. If a multiple choice question cannot be detected, for example because no choice has been checked, multiple choices have been selected or the checked answer is too faint, Ans will mark the question as ‘Ungraded’. This way you can look over the answer yourself and grade it in accordance with the grading scheme as shown here. You can also review the assignment on paper as dictated in this article under the dropdown menu ‘Grading method’.
Tips and tricks
- Make sure to give students plenty of space to write their answers for open questions. You can adjust the size of an answer box when creating or editing your question under ‘Page height of the answer field'.
- It is useful to add extra writing space at the end of your assignment for students who need extra space. This can be done by creating a question and leaving the question content section blank and settings points to zero.
- Give detailed and complete instructions to invigilators when conducting an assignment.
- Add instructions for students on the cover page of the assignment via the dropdown menu Customise layout. These could include the total number of questions and points in the assignment, what materials the students are allowed to bring in or the duration of the taking session.
- Anonymous grading is automatically enabled in Ans. If you wish to view the students name and student number when reviewing, this can be enabled via the assignment settings in the review options tab of the assignment.
- In order for students to view their assignment and result, you can add a timeslot under publications just as with a digital test. This process is described in the following article: Publish results.