Nothing is more frustrating than having an incredible project and no way to quantify student success. Well, actually, that might not be true. It might be equally frustrating to be told that the only way to show a student is successful is on a test. All the best educators know that there are a myriad of ways for students to demonstrate their skills and that students being able to tell their own story in ways other than tests is critically important. The responsibility falls on us, then, to glean information from those performances that takes us beyond the anecdotes and into the concrete description of skill mastery.
As the holidays approach and you are planning the 2nd half of the school year, a number of student projects are potentially coming. Now is as important a time as any to step back and think about how you can design these projects to 1) help students identify their own skills and strengths and 2) give them the performance metrics, student data, and information to explain these skills and strengths to others. Below is a list of tips and tools to help you along your journey.
- Know what type of assessment best matches the skill being assessed - Chapter 2 of Classroom Assessment for Student Learning does a great job outlining this process.
- Use rubrics to articulate the criteria for success - These criteria for success can then be used when students are speaking about their work. It’s a built in tool for developing storytelling language.
- Assess the value of the projects - Creating projects that aren’t meaningful don’t yield valuable learning experiences nor valuable data. If we want to develop students’ abilities and their capacity to verbalize their strengths, the work they do has to have meaning.
- Build off the work of others - This can be a huge undertaking for you, Take time to explore resources that already exist.
Turning the qualitative into the quantitative is an important step in moving beyond simple anecdotes and into complex storytelling that detail students’ true strengths. At the end of the year, when students might be bombarded by formal assessments, it’s a great time to push the envelope and try some new projects with them to help both their development and yours.
To get started, download our free, ready to use student assessment rubric with auto-calculating cells and an auto-populating graph for a quick visualization of student performance.
We are excited for you get started on this year journey and are here to help you along the way. Reach out to us with any questions or if you need any assistance at any point.
Director of Academic Success