Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dan Beaubien Summative Assessment Project

Description:  Instead of assigning students a paper to cap off our poetry unit, I decided to have them create a digital illustration of what they learned.  This was an analysis of a poem that they were randomly assigned from a larger sampling of poems.  They were given the rubric at the same time as they were given their specific poem.  They had an entire block in class to work and then they had to have their digital masterpiece uploaded and turned in by the next class period.

Standard(s) Addressed: Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from text. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

How was this assessment authentic?  
The authenticity of this assignments comes from the fact that it was completely up to the student to show what they knew.  An essay is a very rigid structure, which is fairly easy to master.  However, students can often fake their way through showing what they know and understand through wordiness and a lot of flowery language.  When a student has to digitally create a way to show what they have learned, the process necessitates them having an understanding of the material.  A student cannot fake anything in this type of assessment because it is solely created by them.  They were given the things in the assessment that they were supposed to show and explain, but it was completely up to them how they chose to show that knowledge.  

Reflection of growth in this area:

Looking back at the process, I feel like this is definitely something I can do more of next year.  The whole idea of authentic assessment was very intimidating when I started processing it and realizing how much time it could take.  I also felt like I was failing my students because a lot of the methods I was using to assess what my students knew seemed a bit antiquated and non-authentic.  There was some excitement, though, in the sense that there were different types of assessments that I have always wanted to try.  This project gave me the impetus and motivation to stop wondering and start doing.
There were obviously bumps along the way.  The initial rubric I came up with didn't feel right and I had to give it numerous tweaks.  While I had modeled screencasts/Explain Everythings for them before, there were a number of students who were a bit confused.  I think that when I do it again next year, I will be sure to create an example that they can see.  I also thought that the biggest hang-up for me was the fact that so many students simply did not do it.  This is the struggle that I am still grappling with.  How authentic can a summative assessment be when students are completely disregarding the formative parts of the curriculum and not doing the practice.  
I got a lot out of this project and will be reconfiguring how I assess my students.  I am going to be moving away from some of the traditional formats for summative assessments and tapping into more mulit-media options for the students to show what they know.  

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