How do we find out about our students’ understanding? How do students get feedback about their learning? How can we practically and effectively embed technology in our assessment?
At the beginning of the 7th week, I reflected upon the assessment which is handled in the project. Course 5 Final Project UBD
My colleague and I considered the following characteristics of assessment:
– it includes relevant, explicit, and public criteria that are tied to learning goals
– it occurs frequently and in conjunction with every significant performance
– it comes from multiple sources and includes self, peer, teacher, expert feedback
– it gauges progress and informs planning
Using the four quadrants in the following assessment grid, developed by Ron Ritchhart at Project Zero, I looked over the variety of assessments that should be used throughout the unit. G4 video tutorial-Assessment Coordinate Axes
The vertical axis represents the structure of the assessment (from informal to formal); the horizontal axis indicates the beneficiary of the assessment. For example, external exams and practice for those exams would be placed in the upper-left quadrant, as they are both formal and assessed by (and primarily used by) a teacher or external examiner. In the lower-right quadrant would be a self-assessment along the lines of students writing a reflection in a journal about how they feel about their current piece of writing. Given a prompt by the teacher, they might be directed to discuss what they find difficult and how they have seen improvement, and they could comment on anything that confuses or frustrates them. (from Teaching for Understanding 2: Understanding in Practice)
Here are my findings:
At the beginning of the unit, much of the assessment is informal: students listening to one another as they work in a group, responding orally to questions form the teacher or a peer. More formal assessment takes place later in the unit. I also realized that we employ a lot of class discussion. The use of protocols is a valuable assessment tool. It can offer a great amount of feedback to students about their learning. Class discussion gives students a view into their understanding and allows us to see how this understanding is developing.
Due to the schedule, we can’t afford to spend much time on developing a rubric. Working with students to develop criteria, however, is another powerful method of revealing their understanding and ensuring that the teacher and students agree on expectations. Rubrics can be used both to develop and to assess understanding, and students can play an active part in rubric development.
1. How do we find out about our students’ understanding?
Teachers know that it is not a singular summative assessment, but an ongoing process that pushes students to reflect upon their learning. This contributes to their understanding of key skills and knowledge in a unit. Assessment needs to be an interactive process of receiving and providing feedback and guidance throughout the learning experience, as well as including opportunities to put new insights gained from this feedback into practice.
2. How do students get feedback about their learning?
We should keep in mind that every activity should incorporate ongoing assessment: ways in which the teacher and students can monitor the learning process, indentify misconceptions and gather the information needed to scaffold the next steps in the development of understanding. In addition, assessment can take many forms and variety is the key to success.
3. How can we practically and effectively embed technology in our assessment?
Student learning should be checked by multiple people (e.g., by student, peer, teacher, expert) at different times in the unit, and it should be checked both informally (e.g., through observation, discussion) and formally (e.g., through selections from portfolios, analysis of work in relation to specified criteria). From our studies of COETAIL, we have learned how easily technology can help us share and reflect student learning with multiple people at multiple times in the unit.