I head to U.C. Berkeley for the Partnership for 21st Century skills gathering Thursday and Friday. I appreciate the comments about 21st century assessments from a number of people and will share your thoughts at the gathering. I will report what is shared. A conference blog has already been started.
Patrick Faverty recommends that: “the most important discussion we could have is to agree on what “assessment” really means. Are we talking about quality of work, amount of work, method of working, how well the student completed the task required, or did the student do what was asked?” I will certainly get this clarified in our opening discussions. Good point!
David Warlick stated that: “Assessment today tends to evaluate products, knowledge gained (multiple choice tests) and skills applied (writing and math tests). 21st century assessment should be just as concerned about process as product.” I couldn’t agree more. Students need to be able to evaluate their process they took to reach their end products – so they improve the process next time. As all lifelong learners know, the process of creating or developing anything goes through constant revisions to reach a certain level of perfection.
Nancy Bosch explains that “the focus on process over product; the focus on critical thinking; questioning; and analysis and synthesis” is similar to the way products have been evaluated in the process. For further reading she recommends Carol Ann Tomlinson.
Sylvia Martinez from genyes echoes this same sentiment saying that evaluation should be “integrated into the whole process of learning and teaching, since it should provide the learner with feedback that helps them learn — and it has to happen early and often enough to make a difference in the final outcome.”
Bing Miller summarizes up these thoughts by saying: “An appropriate assessment might require students to present their ideas in more than one format, with multiple perspectives. It probably should also require examination of the choices students make in presenting their learning. We need to ask students why they chose the tools they did and what did it add to their learning. For students to effectively have a variety of ways at their disposal, teachers in the school must also have the same freedom and support to allow it. I think that’s where the most difficulty lies: encouraging our fellow teachers to apply those same critical approaches to their methods as we should be doing of our students.”
Thank you for your insights.