Monday, April 18, 2011

Innovative Assessment

Innovative Assessment?  How does that differ from what I've done before?  Well... hopefully it doesn't.  Then, you could consider yourself a master teacher and can help those around you.  However, with the Common Core Standards (CCSS) arriving on July 1st, we should all be ready to archive "Assessment Artifacts."   That is, artifacts that measure students' growth and your efficacy of  instruction.    

At a data conference last week, I presented a session on Innovative Assessment.  This was not rocket science.  This was not anything relatively new.  However, it surprises me that people react to what is presented as though this is novel and noteworthy.  All it really was, is a new way to use old tricks.   I had 10 new uses for older tools.  These 10 tools are high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech ways to pre-assess and post assess your instruction to prove you are impacting student achievement. 
Let's face it: Information Literacy is not a "tested" area.  Therefore, is we want to show our impact, we have to create the data and share or spotlight our impact.  
In a perfect world, we will have our curriculum mapped and will have all our EQ's ready to roll.  Therefore, we could in September, give our students a pre-test with every EQ on a sheet, computer, questioneer, performance based example, etc.   In theory they will flop.   Then in June, we should be able to give the same EQ's on a list-- basically the same test--and they should Ace this test, if we've delivered instruction in such a way for achievement.  
If that seems out of reach, then I would suggest creating "Assessment Artifacts" that can be filed and brought out upon review with any Administrator.   Plan your lessons with an innovative pre & post assessment, and your building administrators will think you have your act together.   The biggest word for next year will be assessment.  Start planning your assessment portfolio now.  Listed below are teo ideas for innovative pre and post assessment.  Stay tuned this week for additional INNOVATIVE ASSESSMENT IDEAS. 

* WORDLE as pre & post assessment  - If I were teaching research skills to a class, I might have my smartboard open to the site.  I could ask the class:  "What do you need for research?"   Assuming they know a little, their responses might look like this:

After instruction, you could ask the same question.  Their responses should visually show growth as above.  This wordle assessment was suggested by Laurie Alden in SGF after she used this with her 3rd graders on their Rainforest project.    If your students did this individually, they could archive their wordle at the beginning and the end of their research projects.  -'Even on their blog, if you are working in a digital research platform.    This is homework they will do! 
*   - I like to call this "covert assessment."  In schools where children are considered petty criminals if they whip out their cell phone, I would speculate that you would have 1000% participation if you created a  pre-assessment poll in which you allowed them to answer questions via texting.     Polleverwhere will even give you the disclaimer language to read before you open the poll "text messaging fees will apply...blah blah."  However, we all know that most all teens have unlimited texting. 
The simple poll results can be archived  as your pre-assessment.  After the lesson, ask the same question and archive your post lesson results.       Here is what the pre-assessment might look like:

A librarian might choose to ask a question such as, "If you wanted to ascertain whether a website was credible, where should you look?"   or "Which of the following is not important when evaluating whether to use a website?" 

All your archived assessment artifacts will be ready to share with administrators looking for your efficacy of instruction.  
Two more tomorrow....

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