jeudi 17 février 2011

Damian Cooper: Talk About Assessment

I had the privilege of attending the Damian Cooper seminar today. It was engaging, fun and enlightening. There are many things I already knew; but knowing them and putting them into practice are two different things. Several aspects of his presentation made me think about the way I work with my students in my classroom and that some of them need to change in order to maximize their success as independent learners.

Assessment is our school goal for the year and I have really taken it to heart. I know what I want my formative and summative assessment to look like. Now, when I plan my projects and courses, having this assesment in mind will be what allows me to structure my units purposefully. Some of the ideas shared today come to mind when I consider these points about assessment.

1. Work With the End in Mind: My friend, Syd, has been telling me this for years and I have always had the intention of working this way, although intentions and reality do not always agree. Now that I can better imagine what I want it to look like in my classroom, I know how to go about planning it.

2. Tiered Assessment: We want all students to demonstrate proficiency of essential tasks at or above grade level independently. I love this definition because it is a reminder of our ultimate goal. Tiered assessment allows us to ensure we are reaching all students where they are at, and give them the challenge they need individually to proceed to the next level of their own learning. This requires a design that will give them all the guidelines they require to do so.

- One for students who are able to follow guidelines given and attain learning goals.

- One for students who are intrinsically motivated. They have fewer guidelines because these students are able to create their own challenge and take ownership of their learning. They simply need to be given their wings.

- Finally, one for students who need the motivation to complete the work, or who struggle with the required tasks. These students need more detailled how-to guidelines. This will help break down the task into manageable parts so that they will be able to succeed.

3. End of Unit Assessment: Another great project that was shared today was the End of Unit Assessment. This hands-on assessment measures success by the student's ability to use the skills focused on during the course, which includes a personal reflection that confirms learning. This will be one of my goals for my future units in several subjects.

The day held many Aha! moments for me. Overall, I think that I am on the right track. I have things to learn and put into practice to ensure that I am assigning things for a reason and that my evaluations are measuring something worthwhile. I loved the way Cooper summarized this idea. "I won't accept crap, therefore, I cannot assign crap." In other words, if the student's success is my goal, then I want to be sure that the assignments I choose are also worthy of their time.

I am anxious to continue to grow in this area, because as I do, so do my students.

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