Sunday, July 27, 2008


I used an unusual term for assessment in my last posting. Did you catch it?

"Evidence of learning" -- what does that mean?

Often, when we think of assessment, the first thing that comes to mind is..... a test (bingo!).

But, a test is only one measure that can be used ... and it may not always be the best measure.

Whether it's a good measure depends on some of the following factors: How well is it written? Are the questions clear? Are there a variety of answers possible and has the test-writer allowed for that? Is the test formatted clearly, with clear delineation between different parts of the test?

Written tests can work for some students.... but what about the students who have difficulty with small motor (think "bubble tests") or difficulty with visual tracking or difficulty with letter reversals or difficulty with word retrieval (can explain the concept, but can't recall the word) or...

"Evidence of learning" expands the notion of assessment to include a variety of ways in which students can indicate they've mastered the material. It could include some of the following:
  • a newspaper article
  • a three-panel cartoon
  • a diorama
  • a Venn diagram
  • a rap song or poem
  • a panel discussion or debate
  • a sketch, diagram or floor plan
  • an audio recording or video recording
  • a collage
  • a journal entry
  • a skit
  • ______________________________

One of the strategies I used when I was teaching was to schedule a “Bible Review Day” on a regular basis. Students chose a chapter to explore in greater detail by using strategies similar to those listed above. In addition, I asked each to fill out an index card with 1) their name; 2) the name of the chapter; 3) the main characters; 4) the lesson the chapter taught us.

During Bible Review sessions, they took turns presenting their project and explaining it to the class. I asked follow up questions about their project, as did their classmates. The project was a fun piece – the kids (for the most part) enjoyed it and the break in routine was welcome. The index card was actually a key component – it told me what they had learned.

How can you expand your assessment strategies to include “evidences of learning?”

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