Assessment in Education #2 … an ongoing series on assessment
What do we mean when we talk about assessments in education? Testing can provoke a lot of anxiety for students, parents, and teachers alike, so a close consideration of the goals of assessment is essential.
As we discussed last week, the billion-dollar assessment market is in flux. While this situation creates uncertainty, it also affords test makers, school systems, and other stakeholders a valuable opportunity to rethink the goals and the design of assessments. As a result, in the future we may see more models for assessments rooted in new educational philosophies. Although no assessment format is perfect, a few key models seem to endure.
Formative assessments offer instant information about a student’s educational progress. The goal of a formative assessment isn’t usually to gauge the efficacy of a teacher or a school, but rather to shed light on where students stand within a particular lesson, unit, or course. Think of these as the “present tense” of assessment: a snapshot of a student’s learning. Continue reading
When I was executive editor of Weekly Reader, I was often struck by how challenging it was to put together a weekly magazine for the lowest grades. Now, we faced similar challenges in developing a technology enhanced item (TEI) for first graders. They may be digital natives, but they are still 6 years old.
If you have been following our blog, you have seen our first two TEI prototypes. Our primary-grades team engaged in extensive discussions as they developed a technology enhanced item for Grade 1. Please watch this 4-minute video and use the Comments to give us feedback. You can also test drive the prototype Grade 1 TEI here.
Using games in education may be the best way to assess career readiness. That may seem ironic, given that games are inherently based in fantasy. The video below shows the blended approach we used with EconLab, a game-like simulation. While the EconLab is instructional, the bulk of the learning takes place within the Economics and Personal Finance course Victory developed for the Virginia Department of Education. Unfortunately, the EconLab is only accessible if you are enrolled in the course.
As we leap ahead in the EdTech era, we wanted to look back a moment and put EdTech in perspective. This video explains three long-term convergences we see:
- convergence of content and interactivity through technology;
- convergence of what had been isolated “silos” of curriculum; and
- convergence of instruction and assessment, which had been distinct phases of the education process.
Here is another TEI (technology-enhanced item) Victory has developed for English language arts. We are trying to push the envelope on interactivity, but we need to keep within the framework of the PARCC and SBAC assessments that students will soon encounter.
Please take 2 minutes to watch the video; then play with the prototype Writing TEI here.
Common Core assessments are going digital. We’ve made great progress in developing exciting technology-enhanced items (TEIs) for math and science. You can do so much with TEIs in these disciplines because it’s all about the math. But what about making TEIs for English language arts (ELA)? That’s a bit of a problem, because ELA is too open ended—there can be so many right answers.
One ELA approach used on printed tests is the EBSR (evidence-based selected response). Students answer a multiple-choice question (that’s the selected response), and then provide evidence to support their answer. On a printed test, you often give students a second multiple-choice question: which statement provides evidence for your answer in Part A?