Wednesday, July 11, 2007

To Demonstrate Their Competency

"Authentic assessment tends to focus on complex or contextualised tasks, enabling students to demonstrate their competency in a more 'authentic' setting."

In a more perfect world, students would learn for the love of learning: exploring, experimenting, and moving at their own pace. Alas, this is not the case in most areas, particularly in my home state of New York (with its "rigorous" State Regents exams).

The State, the Board of Education, the Administration, the Students themselves, all require grades.

How can I adequately assess student progress in an largely paperless, technology-enabled class? Obviously, some type of authentic assessment is required.

A little cyber sleuthing led to a number of relevant sites. Jon Mueller's Authentic Assessment Toolbox includes information on standards, rubrics, and examples of e-portfolios. The University of Wisconsin-Stout has assembled "a hand selected index of authentic assessment resources". Blogger Helen Barrett shares her NECC07 presentations on E-Portfolios for Learning; Australia's Cindy Barnsley discusses constructivism, analyzing her students' culminating projects and how they were assessed.

To do list:
  • decide on the Essential Question
  • construct a framework for the course
  • review my del.ici.ous bookmarks and align them with the outline
  • decide on the initial assignment; have a few alternatives in mind, in case modification is needed
  • be sure there are copious examples of each type of tech tool discussed
  • use an existing rubric or modify one for portfolio assessment (include a "visual" or "auditory" rubric, an example of an exemplary student video clip or podcast)
  • explore wikispaces and Pageflakes to decide which might work better for my class
  • talk with our District Technologist about our network capabilities; check in with the Guidance Counselor to get names, numbers, and room assignment; touch base with the Superintendent and High School Principal; see if there are funds available for necessary hardware
  • keep trolling Google Reader for ideas and inspiration!

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