What do all of these products have in common?
💡 A field guide to the of the local flora and fauna in the region.
💡 A community garden.
💡 A recipe book for healthy meals using only 5 ingredients.
💡 A tourist handbook of the ‘hidden gems’ of the city.
💡 A podcast featuring community stories of hope.
💡 A published paper in a professional magazine around how to protect the local wetlands.
They are ALL authentic products created by students to demonstrate learning, and make a difference in their community.
More importantly- they were ALL completed in classrooms that look no different than yours.
Last week, I discussed the implications of Chat GPT, and what it means for assessment.
Some districts are clinging even tighter to outdated forms of assessments.
But other, more courageous educators and schools, are using it as a pretext to design more authentic experiences (like the ones listed above); and to task students with creating authentic products that demonstrate their learning.
I sincerely hope you will as well.
Here’s where to start…
What learning experience are you currently undergoing? How have you tasked students to demonstrate what they learned?
A paper/pencil exam? A powerpoint presentation? A poster to hang up on the wall?
These forms of assessment are more for us to checkoff mandated learning standards, but they are NOT ones that engage learners, and make a noticeable impact in the communities in which they live.
To develop more authentic assessments and products for learning experiences, here are 5 questions to ask:
- Does the assessment/product allow for student voice/choice? Is there flexibility in the content students include in their final product? Whether it’s a podcast or field guide, include learners in the conversation, and chances are their product will be infinitely better than the one you have envisioned.
- Is the assessment/product authentic? Are you asking learners to develop something that can serve a purpose in the real world? The best way to answer this question is to consider where their product/assessment will go when it’s complete. If it will remain locked away in a file, or end up in the school dumpster, it probably isn’t every very authentic. If it will live on as a website, blog, or in an academic journal or museum, it will be far more worthwhile.
- Is the assessment/product presented to an audience? Who is the audience for your student’s assessment/final products? If designing a bridge, it might be engineers; if writing a book, it could be younger peers who visit the local library. Identify an audience for student work outside of the walls of the classroom and chances are it will be more meaningful.
- Is the assessment/product appropriate for the learning experience goals/understandings? If students are learning about advanced physics concepts by investigating local amusement parks, you wouldn’t have them write a book on what they learned; but rather, have them use their new understanding to design their own. Think of how professionals in the real world work in your field, and design learning experiences that ask students to do the same.
And finally, the resource you’ve been looking for years to find…
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To your success in ditching the paper/pencil exam!