As I noted before, one of the classes that I am taking is challenging me to create a rubric that I can then use for assessing assessments. This week we were tasked with adding to our first iteration taking into account feedback on the first one and adding information from new readings.
The module this time around had two primary focuses. The first is the power of formative assessments (remember NC FALCON those of you that have been teaching in NC for a while). There is an intense amount of research into formative assessments and what makes them so valuable. One of the primary issues that this research faces is the variety of definition that people have for this facet of education. Everyone seems to mean something different.
The second area was something that I learned way back when I first started teaching called backwards design as explained in the McTighe and Wiggans book about understanding through design. Their book changed a good bit about how I did things as an educator back at the beginning of my career.
I added two elements to the rubric for this time around.
Requires transfer of knowledge
This needs to be a focus of instruction and therefore needs to be a focus of assessment. Students need to be able to utilize the information that they have learned in a different way. As part of the discussion of backward planning, McTighe explained that transfer of knowledge can be shown in a variety of ways including use of the knowledge in a new situation, teaching the information to others, and explaining the information in a paraphrase. Any assessment needs to have a clear means through which this occurs. Wiggans and McTighe (2005) outline six elements to look for (can explain, can interpret, can apply, have perspective, can empathize. And have self knowledge) (p. 84).
Provides benchmarks that allow students to check understanding throughout the period rather than just at the end (For assessments that are not tests)
This is something that I noticed throughout the different articles about formative assessment. There is a need for constant feedback throughout the process to assure learning is taking place. For assessments that are not unit tests, students should have constant feedback as they create the product that will be assessed. This is most evident in the conception that it is much easier to make small course corrections as you go versus making a large course correction after it is all said and done. Black and Wiliam (1998a) wrote, “Feedback was most effective when it was designed to stimulate correction of errors through a thoughtful approach to them in relation to the original learning relevant to the task” (p.36). While we will see in the next criteria that solid feedback is needed at the end as well, it seems to be most effective when provided while students are still working towards the goal.
I also made a few adjustments to some of the other elements including a more robust explanation of the self assessment piece. Check it out below or use this link.
Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998a). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice,5(1), 7-74. doi:10.1080/09695959800501012
Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998b). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-144.
Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture.Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14.
Wiggins, G.P. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://p2047-ezproxy.msu.edu.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/login?url=https://search-ebscohost-com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e000xna&AN=133964&scope=site