Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Day 5 Assessments

assessment On the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook, the twenty day blogging challenge created by Kelly Hines was mentioned and I decided to give it a shot. So here is the challenge for today:

“Give a tip for assessment. What is an example of an assessment you give? Share any tips for designing/giving/grading assessments.”

I am a big believer of Project Based Learning. I like to come up with the objectives for my lesson and then think about the things students can create to show that they have mastered the objectives. I like to have my students create something new from their understanding of the lesson because I don’t have to worry about cheating this way. I believe it also helps the students become more engaged in the lesson because they know they aren’t expected to just regurgitate facts and figures. By applying their knowledge and creating something new, I can get a better grasp as to their understanding of the lesson. Sometimes I come up with suggestions for them to make and sometimes I let them think about ways they can show mastery of their skills. Sometimes if they can convince me that what they propose shows mastery, they are more excited and invested in the lesson.

First I plan out the main goal and objectives for the unit. Then I think of activities that will teach the information so that they can master the goals and objectives. Finally I think of projects that students can create to show me this mastery.

Once the students think about what they will need for their final project, I sometimes need to adjust the lessons. I might be teaching certain aspects of a lesson and due to their interest, I might need to add more or different information. In a way, this can end up an exploration adventure for all of us.

Of course, all of this takes careful planning before the entire lesson is introduced to the class. I like to have a general rubric that I will use to grade all of the projects. There are basic requirements that every student must fulfill and if they have the rubric from the start, the students have some guidance on where they need to start and the basics for how they need to finish. If they get more elaborate, they can add bonus points to their grade.

I have used this type of lesson many times and each time it has been successful. I have noticed that the more planning I do beforehand, the better the entire lesson seems to be.

What assessments do you give? Please share.

Image: 'Powerpoint Slide: "Planning with end in+mind"
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