Assessment As Learning

There continues to be a big push in our school board to incorporate more “Assessment As Learning” into the learning process.  Basically this means helping students to develop skills for self-evaluation and metacognition.  One of the ways that my department has opted to try and integrate this into our science curriculum is through the use of student friendly check-brics.

One example of a simple check-bric might look like this:

Criteria Met Not Met
My graph includes a title and labeled axis.
My graph includes a line of best fit for the data and an equation of the line.
My graph has a caption, briefly describing what the graph is about.

white space – please ignore

The check-bric above is the type that a student might complete before handing in an assignment.  Generally, the point is to help students self-reflect on their work so they can make the necessary improvements themselves.  In my class, after the students complete the check-bric above, they are given the chance to take their work home and improve it before it is handed into me for more formative feedback.

Over the last year, I have started to use check-brics not only for students to assess their work, but so they can also assess their learning.  For example, if the students were participating in a learning activity, such as a scientific investigation, I will develop a simple check-bric for my students to look at before and after the task.  Below is an example of one I used the other day for a learning activity about accelerated motion:

Statement Yes Kinda No
I have a good understanding of how to use the motion sensors
I have a good understanding hot to use the Datastudio software
I understand why a distance-time graph can have different shapes
I can explain what is happening in a distance-time graph based on the shape
I understand why a velocity-time graph can have different shapes
I can explain what is happening in a velocity-time graph based on the shape
I know how to calculate the speed of an object from a d-t graph
I know how to calculate the acceleration of an object from a v-t graph
I know how to calculate the displacement of an object from a v-t graph
I can see how an understanding of accelerating objects relates to objects in real life

white space – please ignore

What I like about this approach is that students can see before they begin an activity, what the activity is designed to teach them.  I think that if a student is aware that “understanding the shape of a displacement-time graph” is important and that the activity is their opportunity to learn this concept, they will be more likely to ask for help from other students or from me while the activity is going on.

white space – please ignore

At the end of the activity, I do not need to collect any “product” other than the check-bric.  The learning results of this particular activity were pretty good:  About 8 students put mostly all YES, about 14 put mostly KINDA, and about 4 students put mostly NO.  Immediately, this tells me who my “experts” are in the class, and who needs the most extra help.

The part I am really excited about is what I hope to do with this data.

My first thought was that I needed to seek out the students who did not understand and talk to them directly, and I will definitely do that.  But, I am also attempting to empower my “experts” more and get them involved in using their mastery to help others.  I have arranged for pairs of experts to record a short video (less than one minute) explaining how they understand one of the rows of the check-bric.  They are encouraged to use words and diagrams as they see fit and they can use the department’s Flip video camera any day after school.  Ultimately, they will post the videos to our class social network for all other students to see.  I am really hoping for a positive response to this, so that it can become a regular occurrence in my class.

I see the creation of student videos as a really valuable use of the assessment as learning data for a number of reasons:

  1. It empowers students to see themselves as having something of value to share
  2. It distributes the responsibility of reteaching content to weaker students from the teacher to other capable students
  3. It provides opportunity for the “KINDA” students to re-approach the content, even if I may not have time to get around to each of them individually
  4. It permits all students to review the subject content at a time that is convenient to them – whether they are in the library at school, at home, or visiting their grandma for the weekend (Comment:  I think that asynchronous learning will be a big part of the educational landscape of the future)

I am excited about how this first attempt will go.

Image Credit:   KTVee, Mechki

7 Comments

  1. Great to see that you are using your checkbrick data! I’m interested in how the videos turn out…Kudos for continuing to be innovative with your assessment!

    MK

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  2. I think this is a great way to take some of the pressure off you as the teacher. It’d be impossible to go to every student who checked “kinda” for any of the tasks, which means you’re only addressing the immediate needs of some students (those who checked “no”) and not the more chronic needs of the students more constantly in the middle. Giving them the opportunity to address it themselves, just for the issues they have personally with the concept, alleviates that too time-consuming task for you.

    excellent ideas.

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  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Graham Whisen, NWEA. NWEA said: #kidcentric assessment as learning! @grahamwhisen Blog: http://goo.gl/2Zz2 – Helping students to be self-reflective learners #edtech #edchat […]

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  4. Checkbrics are wonderful for providing natural accommodations for students with learning disabilities as well. They often miss criteria, and the checkbric lets them self-check before handing in a product. A checkbric for concepts is a WONDERFUL way for them to self-check for learning but also for studying purposes too. 🙂

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  5. hmm…I must appreciate you for post you have shared.i really like it.thanx for sharing:)
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  6. Thanks for that very helpful article! As a teacher candidate, I often get confused between the Assessment ‘for’ vs ‘as’ learning and what it would look like.

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  7. […] goes away. Why?  Because what we should really be talking about is assessment AS learning – a process where students are aware of their own learning objectives, where they take responsibility for meeting those objectives, and where teachers assist students in […]

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