Re-thinking Assessment in a Technology Rich Common Core Classroom
In a lot of recent posts, I’ve considered how my instruction will change with implementation of the common core and the introduction of new technologies into my classroom. Today I want to think about the ways in which assessment will also see complete reformation. I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and questions as we all tackle this education revolution together! As you are updating your curriculum, be sure to check out Secondary Solutions guides, which are common core aligned and FULL of great assessment ideas!
Assessment Changes On the Horizon:
1. I must stop asking google-able questions. Almost all of my students walk around with the internet in their pockets. Instead of asking students to memorize information that could be easily answered with a simple search, I need to look at the enduring skills and information that will take them to higher order thinking. For example, in a test about the poetry of Emily Dickinson, instead of asking about the definition of slant rhyme, I need to ask about the effect of slant rhyme in light of the poem’s content. Instead of memorizing simple facts, it is more important that students analyze ways in which an author’s word choice shapes the meaning and tone of a piece (Common Core Anchor Standard CCRA.R.4). This one I think is just good practice no matter what the standards say and I’ve been working on it for the last few years. Is it as hard for you to give up control of those traditional questions as it is for me? It sometimes kills me to press delete, even when I know it is for the best.
2. I must allow for socially rich assessment. Students live in a world rich in social media and real time communication, which is disconnected to the practice of traditional assessment. In traditional assessment, all students answer the same question, prompt, or problem and then the teacher evaluates answers. Social assessments allow students to evaluate each other, add depth to the answers of their peers and interact with a more varied audience. Socratic Seminar is a great low-tech, face to face option and collaborize classroom allows for tech savvy asynchronous social assessment. I’ve seen an improvement in the depth of assessment from both of these practices. Do you use any other platforms for giving assessment a social, yet rigorous make-over?
3. I must explicitly teach effective communication that is relevant. Instead of focusing solely on the five-paragraph essay, reflective writing, and research paper, I need to teach students how to effectively communicate through media they currently use and will likely use in the future. It is important that students understand the impact their words will have through social media, online forums, and messaging. As we see more colleges and employers checking online profiles, students should know the gravity of their voices in terms of their own futures. On a more positive note, the power of rhetoric in social media and online discussion is also responsible for incredible growth in grass roots movements. Students will also need to learn how to present research using new media like infographics. Limiting formal writing instruction to traditional essay formats robs students of the potential to communicate effectively in the digital era.
4. I must learn how to collect e-portfolios as a process of reflection and self-assessment. I’ve traditionally kept paper portfolios for my students. We fill them with their writing and quarterly reflect on improvements, challenges, and goals. This staple of my class has served students well and I hate to see it go. However, I think the writing is on the wall for my precious manilla folders. It is time for me to find a neat and effective way to transfer this practice to a digital world. Any suggestions for me? I’m anxious to hear them!
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