ZPD- Why it matters!


The zone of proximal development (ZPD), is the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do with help. It is a concept developed by Soviet psychologist and social constructivist Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1934).

Vygotsky stated that a child follows an adult’s example and gradually develops the ability to do certain tasks without help or assistance. Vygotsky’s often-quoted definition of zone of proximal development presents it as “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers.”

Vygotsky among other educational professionals believes the role of education to be to provide children with experiences which are in their ZPD, thereby encouraging and advancing their individual learning.

John Hattie – Visible Learning

We looked at John Hattie in an article recently, and I thought viewing a video where he talks openly about what “ingredients” lead to effective teaching would be helpful to us all.  

As you watch these videos -in PLCs or on your own -jot down some questions that jump out at you. You can share these with me, and we can then use them to share out (anonymously) among ourselves to collaboratively make us all stronger as a school..

John Hattie on Visible Learning and Feedback in the Classroom

John Hattie: Visible Learning Pt1. Disasters and below average methods.

John Hattie, Visible Learning. Pt 2: effective methods:

Tony Wagner- 7 Skills to close the global achievement gap!

“The Global Achievement Gap, Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need — and What We Can Do About It” –Tony Wagner

In a global economy that runs on innovation and curiosity, our schools still teach to standardized tests. 

Wagner identified seven skills to meet the challenge of a global economy and begin to close the global achievement gap:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving — Teachers spend many hours on practice questions, test-taking strategies, and helping students memorize facts to prepare students to pass multiple-choice tests. In a workplace more complicated than ever, solutions to real life problems are not multiple-choice.

  • Leading By Influence — Students spend most of their school time learning in isolation. The world of work now requires employees to work in teams to accomplish company goals. Students must be prepared to present their ideas to others and advocate their position in developing a solution.

  • Agility and Adaptability — There is only one right answer in school. In the world of work, there is no perfect answer. Often, the answer is quickly invalidated by rapidly changing technology. 21st century employees need to be flexible, adaptable, and lifelong learners.

  • Initiative and Entrepreneurialism — The business model has changed. It is no longer a top-down institution with bosses in command. Employees are expected to bring skills to the workplace that allow them to figure out how to overcome obstacles. The teacher-as-boss model used in school teaches learners to focus on the assigned task but ill-prepared to think beyond the assigned task.

  • Effective Oral and Written Conversation — Most of the time in the classroom is direct instruction with the teacher talking and the students listening. Students need more focus on developing the written and verbal skills required to make clear and precise presentations.

  • Accessing and Analyzing Data — While students have limited data in the classroom: a textbook, lecture notes, and the web, the unlimited data from computers and smartphones make it essential for students to discern valid information from misinformation.

  • Curiosity and Imagination — The ability to ask good questions is the number one skill employers look for. 21st century employees must have the ability to think fast and develop imaginative solutions to problems in a rapidly changing world.


Tony Wagnerhttps://www.tonywagner.com

John Hattie – impacts of distance learning

Education expert John Hattie weighs in on the impacts of distance learning

By:  Wade Zaglas  in  In The ClassroomOpinionTop Stories April 23, 2020 

Professor John Hattie’s Visible Learning framework needs no introduction to educators.

It has been used in schools across Australia for years now to deliver consistent, evidence-based learning outcomes and is the culmination of synthesizing more than 1,500 meta-analyses comprising more than 90,000 studies and 300 million students around the world. 

Visible Learning helps educators to not only structure a lesson effectively (e.g. through learning objectives and success criteria), but also understand the extent to which different factors influence a student’s education (e.g. socioeconomic background, teacher efficacy and so on). 

One factor that has gone under the radar is the effect remote or distance learning will have on the learning outcomes of Australian students, and Hattie addresses this critical topic in a recent online blog.

To begin, Hattie asks: “First, does it matter that students are not in the physical place called school?”

Hattie highlights that, although no meta-analysis exists on the effect on the length of a school year, traditional reviews show the effect to be “tiny”. Also, both Australia and the US have some of the longest school days and school years across all of the OECD countries, meaning we have some room to give.

“If we take out one term/semester of 10 weeks, [Australia and the US] still have more in-school time compared to Finland, Estonia, Korea and Sweden, which all outscore Australia and the USA on PISA,” Hattie says.

Hattie also mentions that data exists on the effect of teacher strikes and “lengthy shut outs”. He contends that the effect on student learning is very low before the middle years but increases “after middle school, especially in math”. 

The education expert also refers to his experience as an advisor to the Qualifications Authority that oversees senior high school examinations in New Zealand. During the devastating earthquakes of 2011, Christchurch’s school system was severely disrupted and there was “a cry for special dispensations for high school examinations”.

Hattie argued the opposite, basing his judgement on “strike research, which showed no effects at this upper school level, with positive effects in some cases”.

“Sure enough, the performance of Christchurch students went up, and as schools resumed, the scores settled back down,” he says.

“Why? Because teachers tailored learning more to what students could NOT do, whereas often school is about what teachers think students need, even if students can already do the tasks.”

In summary, Hattie urges teachers and parents to not panic if students miss out on 10 weeks or so of face-to-face learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also recommends no meaningless “busy work” over the period and giving students sufficient opportunities to learn things they do not know.

After all: “It is not the time in class, but what we do in the time we have, that matters.” 

The bigger challenge

Although Hattie asserts that time away from school does not result in devastating learning outcomes, he cautions that equity is a far more concerning factor.

“Students who come from well-resourced families will fare much better than those from lower resourced families: The effect of home resources is powerful (d = .51),” he says.

“I have rarely met a parent who does not want to help the child, but some do not have the skills. Remember, we made schooling compulsory because teachers are better at teaching than parents.” 

There are, however, other aspects of the home that can be controlled and do have an effect on learning. These include parental involvement (.43) and particularly parental expectations (.70).

On technology

Hattie highlights that the effect size of technology has been low for the last 50 years, and remains so. 

“The effect of distance learning is small (.14) but that does not mean it is NOT effective – it means it does not matter whether teachers undertake teaching in situ or from a distance over the internet (or, like when I started in my first university, via the post office),” he says. 

“What we do matters, not the medium of doing it.”

Although some forms of technology are highly effective, such as interactive videos (.54), others such as laptops (.16) and mobile phones (-.34) have a minimal or even negative effect. However, Hattie explains these effect sizes have been undertaken in classrooms and are therefore “not so relevant in this crisis”.

For Hattie, social media is perhaps one of the best technological assets during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Marie Davis (2018) has explored asking students to use social media, such as Edmodo, to have students send questions and talk about what they do not know,” Hattie says.

“They are more likely to do this on social media than directly to the teacher. What an opportunity to exploit in the current situation!”

Some final thoughts on distance learning

In summarising his approach to best exploit distance learning during this pandemic, Hattie emphasises several key points:

  • Optimising social interaction between peers and teachers
  • Listen to student feedback carefully as you do not have the usual classroom cues to look out for
  • Balance “precious knowledge with deep learning”
  • Understand what it is to be a learner online
  • Question how you can know your impact as an educator from afar 
  • Collaborate more with other teachers to share ideas, observations and tips

Finally, Hattie recommends that educators (and parents) acknowledge that the world is going through a difficult though temporary period and schooling will not look the same.

“Engage with parents to realize we as educators have unique skills and expertise (and are happy to share them), and not get upset if students are not spending 5-6 hours every day in the belief that school at home is but a mirror of the typical school day.”  

General Resources


Info on Schoology Tests


Create tests/quizzes in your Schoology course to assess your students’ grasp of the material or evaluate their preparedness for class. Each test/quiz is automatically graded (unless you’ve included a subjective question, such as a short answer/essay), providing you with instant and powerful feedback that can help guide your upcoming lesson plans.

You can manually override grades, add comments, and customize a wide array of settings for each test/quiz.Important Notes:

  • If you use Schoology Enterprise and there is no Test/Quiz option in your organization, please reach out to your Schoology representative.
  • The option to create a Test/Quiz is no longer available on Schoology Basic. Learn more here

Read this article in its entirety, or use the links below to jump to guides on specific aspects of using tests/quizzes in your Schoology course.

Create Tests/Quizzes

To create a Test/Quiz, follow these steps:

  1. Click Add Materials.
  2. Select Add Test/Quiz.
  3. Fill out the Create Test/Quiz form.
    • Set a Due Date to place the test/quiz in the Course Calendar and Upcoming area.
    • Set a Category to include the test/quiz in your gradebook.
    • Use Period to choose grading category from the drop-down menu.
    • Set a Scale for the test/quiz.
  4. Click Create to complete.

Note: Tests/Quizzes can also be created within course folders, or added to folders after their creation.


Use Options to turn on/off the following features:

  • Use Individually Assign (Enterprise only)to only display the assignment to a specific member of the course or a grading group.
  • Published to Students to display or hide the test/quiz from student view.
    Note: Using Published determines whether students see the test/quiz on the course Materialspage. This is different from the Allow Attempts option in the Settings tab of the test/quiz, which determines when students can begin taking the test/quiz.
  • Enabling Grade Statistics displays the statistics for the test/quiz to students
  • Enabling Comments allows students to comment on the test/quiz:
  • Copy to: Test/Quizzes can only be copied after all questions have been created and finalized.

Add Questions

To create questions:

  1. Click Add Question.
  2. Select a question-type from the menu. Click here to learn about the different types of questions on Schoology.
  3. Fill out the question.
  4. For multiple-choice or true/false questions, you can also add feedback:
    1. Click Show Feedback.
    2. Add answer-level feedback in the text fields next to each answer choice.
    3. Add question-level feedback in the text fields beneath the answer choices, labeled Incorrect Response Feedback and Correct Response Feedback.
    4. To hide feedback, click Hide Feedback.
  1. (Optional) Add a learning objective to the test/quiz question.
  2. Click Create Question to complete.

Note: There is a limit of 200 questions per test/quiz.

Add Questions from Question Banks

Once you have a Question Bank in Schoology, you can build tests/quizzes with questions from the banks. You can add individual questions from a question bank, or you can add a random selection of questions from multiple question banks when you create your quiz.

To add individual questions from one question bank to a test/quiz:

  1. Create a test/quiz, or click on the name of test/quiz into which you’d like to add questions.
  2. In the Questions tab, click Add Question and select From Question Banks in the menu.
  3. In the Import from Question Banks window, select Individual Questions.

  4. Click the Question Bank from which you’d like to import questions.
  5. Select the box next to the question(s) you’d like to import. To import all questions, select the box next to the Auto-select button.
  6. Using Auto-select (optional): To insert a set number of randomly-selected questions from the bank:
    1. Click Auto-select.
    2. Enter the number of questions you’d like to add to the test.
    3. Click Select.

When you use the Auto-select feature, the selected number of questions are added to the test/quiz, and all students in the course receive the same set of questions.

  1. Enter a point value in the field to the right of each question to set the number of points each question is worth. To set a consistent point value for each question, click the Set Points button and enter a value in the Points Per Question field.
  2. Click Add Questions to complete.

To add a random selection of questions from one or more question banks to a test/quiz:

  1. Create a test/quiz, or click on the name of the test/quiz into which you’d like to add questions.
  2. In the Questions tab of the test/quiz, click Add Question.
  3. Select From Question Banks.
  4. In the Import from Question Banks window, select Random Questions.

  5. In the Select Question Banks window, select one or more of your question banks to pull from. You can select as many as you’d like.
  6. Click Select Question Banks.
  7. In the Add Random Questions window, enter:
    • The number of questions that you want to generate from each bank.
    • How many points each question is worth.
  8. Click Add Questions to complete.

Each quiz will contain the determined number of questions from the selected question banks.
Each student in the course receives a unique set of questions. Even if students receive a few of the same questions, they will appear in a different order, so no test is alike. This is helpful in maintaining the validity of your quiz results.Pro Tip: Having a question bank strategy and strict labeling system can separate good tests from great ones. Think about how your random tests might turn out if you organize your question banks by lesson unit, question type, learning objective, or even learner type (e.g., visual, auditory, etc.).

Back to top

Import a Test/Quiz


To import a test/quiz from Blackboard 7.1-9.0, Edmastery, or ExamView, follow these steps:

  1. Click Add Question.
  2. Select Import Test/Quiz.
  3. Select to import from Blackboard 7.1-9.0, or from Edmastery. ExamView questions can be imported by first exporting them to the Blackboard format.
  4. Click Next, and select a file from your computer.
  5. Click Import to complete.


Click Settings of the Test/Quiz profile to adjust the following settings:

Instructions: The text you enter here will be accessible while students are taking the test/quiz. Use the Rich Text Editor tools to add multimedia content or attachments to the instructions.Submissions: Specify if students are able to take the test or quiz, and when they have access to it. This is separate from the publishing feature on the test/quiz profile:

  • Enable: Students are able to open and take the test.
  • Enable until: Students can take the test until the date and time you specify in the Until field that displays.
  • Enable from…until: Students can begin the test after the date and time indicated in From and before the date and time in Until.
  • Disable: Students can not take the test.

Note: The default setting for test/quiz availability is Disable. If your students can open the test/quiz but the Start New Attempt button is not available, you may need to switch this setting to one of the Enable options.

Time Limit: Set a time limit for the entire test/quiz.Note: The Time Limit setting does not control setting a time limit for individual questions.

Attempt Limit: Specify a limit to the number of times a student can take the test/quiz.

If students can take it more than once, use the Grade By menu to select how to grade the test/quiz.

  • Randomize Order: Randomizes the order of the questions on each student’s test/quiz, enabling you to give students a different version of the same test/quiz. Selecting Yes ignores page breaks, and students will see one question per page.
  • Paging: A quick way to set one question per page. Or, you can determine where page breaks fall in the test by inserting your own using the Add Question and selecting +Page Break. Then, on the test/quiz Settings page, select Using Page Breaks from the Paging dropdown.
  • Language Keyboard: Select Spanish in this menu to provide a keyboard in the browser that includes Spanish accent marks that students can select while answering short answer and fill-in-the-blank questions.
  • Question Review: If enabled, students can see an overview page at the end of the test/quiz where they can review their answers before submitting.
  • Resumable: Enablesstudents to resume an incomplete submission.
  • View Submissions: Enablesstudents to view their submissions (and whether they answer questions correctly or incorrectly) after submitting the test/quiz.
  • Hide point values: Enablesyou to hide the point value for each question. If you choose to display the point values and enable the View Submissions setting, the total point values display when students view their submissions.

Note: Tests/quizzes save student answers automatically. Tests/quizzes can remain open for a maximum of 6 hours before the session expires. Make sure you tell students to exit the test/quiz and resume it at a later time if the test will take longer than 6 hours to complete.

Preview Test/Quizzes

You can preview the quiz from the Preview area. This feature enables you to check your questions and settings before you make the test available to students.

Grading Tests/Quizzes


Once your students take the quiz, the results are immediately cataloged for you under the Results tab of the quiz. This area enables you to view student submissions by student or by question. Use this in conjunction with View Stats to understand how your students performed on the test.

The default view of the Results tab displays submissions in the View by Student view. If your test/quiz has subjective questions, you must grade the test or test question manually for the student to receive a score.

To grade a test/quiz from the View by Student area:

  1. To grade the overall test, click on the asterisk, and enter a score.
  2. To grade student’s test/quiz submission, click the View Attempts option to the right.
  3. If your test/quiz allows for multiple submissions, each submission displays under the selected student’s name. To view a particular submission, click the gear to the right, and then select View/Edit from the menu.
  4. Enter a score for the subjective question, and adjust other automatically graded questions if needed.
  5. Click Save Changes.
  6. Click different student names to toggle to their submissions.

To grade a test/quiz from the View by Question area, follow these steps:

Unsubmit Attempt

To unsubmit a student attempt from the View by Student area:

  1. Click the View Attempts option next to the student. 
  2. Click the gear icon next to the attempt. 
  3. Select Unsubmit.

Note: Unsubmitting an attempt cannot be undone. If you have deleted an attempt and need to restore it, contact Schoology Support.

View Stats

View Stats provides key statistics for a Test/Quiz including:

  • # Grades: The total number of grades recorded.
  • Max Points: Total points possible for the quiz.
  • Highest Grade: The highest grade achieved.
  • Lowest Grade: The lowest grade achieved.
  • Average: The average for all grades achieved, or the Mean.
  • Standard Deviation: The amount of grade variation.
  • Median: The ‘middle’ grade.
  • Mode: The most common grade.

View Stats includes a graph that visualizes Average and Standard Deviation across the grades for the Test/Quiz.

If this graph does not appear within View Stats, be sure that Flash is enabled within your browser settings. For more information, review: Viewing Flash and HTML5 Content in Google Chrome or contact Schoology Support.