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Authentic Assessment

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Activity for Exploring Authentic Assessment


  • Describe the steps you take when you develop assessment for a specific unit or lesson. Think of an actual example and then retrace your process.  This will be used only as a personal reference but please write out or outline.







 Two Descriptions of Authentic Assessment:


A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills -- Jon Mueller

"...Engaging and worthy problems or questions of importance, in which students must use knowledge to fashion performances effectively and creatively. The tasks are either replicas of or analogous to the kinds of problems faced by adult citizens and consumers or professionals in the field." -- Grant Wiggins -- (Wiggins, 1993, p. 229).

From -


  • Post in the Forum below a description or outline of an example of Authentic Assessment (as you understand it from the definitions above) for Bubble-ology or Understanding Scale.  Include a rationale for the Assessment you developed.
  • Compare and contrast the process of developing Authentic  Assessment and the process you described in your personal example and post any insights you gained from this comparison.  If they are the same don’t bother, please move onto the next question.
  • Please post in the forum below your comments and reaction to the following prompt: Authentic Assessment is the only form of assessment consistent with Inquiry Instruction… any and all modalities of instruction.
  • Read all the postings from this activity and respond to at least one. Please be prepared to share this response and other thoughts in a group discussion.



Deborah Hazen's picture

What is your point of comparison?

When you grade what is your point of comparison?

Do you determine student grades based on their performance relative to each other, an external set of standards and expectations, some other criteria?

Do you include class participation, attitude, homework timeliness, ability to work well with others, perception of how hard (or not they are working)....?

What does an A mean to you, a B, a C? How does one get an A, B or C in your class? What percentage of kids get each grade each year? What percentage of kids get a D or lower?

Hearing that the average GPA at a school is a 2.7 makes sense when you consider that an average GPA lining up with an average grade (about a C, maybe a C+) is not at all incongruent. So, do you believe in the bell curve of grading? What were the average grades in your classes last year? Do you talk to kids about C being average---or is a C the new F in your district?

How do we feel about grades and what they mean as a reflection of our teaching practice--separate from the way our districts may treat grades?

How do our thoughts and feelings about grades and the power of grades influence our assessment of inquiry activities?

Edward Bujak's picture

The Origins of Grading


During one lunch, you asked about the origins of grading.

This blog entry is great.

It contains a good 8:04 podcast on what is  believed the origins of grading and a few links worthy of exploring.  Now I know Arthur Edington was a Senior Wrangler (I will be learning more about this great British astrophysicist at PSU Black Holes, August 2-7, 2009).

It look like we can blame the Brits and the maths teachers there for grading.


Edward Bujak's picture

Student Involved Assessment - great

Take a look at this Student Involved Assessment blog entry in Tech & Learning.
Edward Bujak's picture

What do we want from our schools?

Here is a GREAT video clip (5:16) by Principal Chris Lehmen from the 3-year old SLA (Science Leadership Academy) about many of the things we are talking about in II09.
Chris speaks fast ... so be forewarned!
SLA is an inquiry-driven and project-based school. a one-to-one school in the SDP in the old school district office.  Check out the SLA Mission Statement.  SLA does some very intersting things in that school ... all of which are possible because the system lets them define themself with no holds.  SLA started from scratch so there was no preconditions of "this is the way we do it here."  SLA interviews prospective students on the phone, then in person, with your future 4-year teacher advocate in attendance.  SLA is not a neighborhood school as students come from he SDP from all parts of the city.  They do not  recruit the smartest, they do recruit the students that show a genuine interest in their own learning (hum).  It is not classified as a magnet school, but then again they pick their students.
Hey, did Chris say dip-sticking (at 3:31 mark)?  :)
On January 29-31, 2010 try to attend Educon 2.2 at SLA.  It is amazing!  I have been to Educon 2.0 and 2.1 the previous 2 years.  Educon is about technology, but how learning is accomplished and facilitated with technology.  Many of he top people and contributors about inquiry-driven and project-based classrooms and tech in education come to this un-conference here in our own back yard!
joycetheriot's picture

Assessment of Inquiry

Chapter 5: Assessment of Inquiry by Richard A. Duschi


The focus on scientific inquiry needs to be on attainment of evidence and how it is used to generate and justify explanations.

Synthesize the research:

1.       The incorporation and assessment of Scientific Inquiry  in educational contexts need to form 3 integrated domains:

  • The conceptual structures and cognitive processes used when reasoning scientifically.
  • The epistemic framework used when developing and evaluating scientific knowledge and
  • The social processes and forums that shape how knowledge is communicated, represented, argued and debated.

2.       The conditions for science inquiry learning and assessment improve through the establishment of:

  • Learning environments that promote student-centered learning
  • Instructional sequences that promote integrating science learning across each of the 3 domains listed above
  • Activities and tasks that make the students’ thinking visible in each of the 3 domains and
  • Teacher designated assessment practices that monitor learning and provide feedback on thinking and learning in each of the 3 domains


Stephen Cooney's picture


Please post in the forum below your comments and reaction to the following prompt: Authentic Assessment is the only form of assessment consistent with Inquiry Instruction… any and all modalities of instruction.

There is no “only” anything in education.  In a world of differentiated instruction there needs to be (at least for me) a world of differentiated assessment.  Now it may be possible to find a way to assess all the different (iated) kiddies with authentic assessment, but it’s not likely.  That said, authentic assessment is one of the forms that works better with inquiry instruction than some others.  There can be a ‘vagueness’ to what info/content has been delivered in the inquiry instruction.  Then, with ADD kids you never know what part they took in or not! 


A good authentic assessment after inquiry instruction will give a sense of what info/material was adequately delivered and to whom.  It can identify gaps in the intended information and outliers in understanding.  Authentic assessment is an important component in determining the ability to transfer knowledge.  It can require that one convert concrete skills in a global way.  But, it is only one part of a complete assessment.

RecycleJack Marine's picture

Off the Scale

I liked Paul's enthusiasm for his subject. The school he works at is lucky to have someone who is so experienced in his subject matter. As I said in reflection, I worked in an industry which has an impact on students (women's bottoms), but one in which I've rarely shown in my classrooms. I think an interesting comparison in scale would be the size of a rivet, and of how important they are in the manufacturing of women's jeans: There can be several in the construction and they play a critical role in the strength of the finished product.

Part of Paul's lesson was challenging as I have trouble calculating with formulas. I am confident that I can master those I will be teaching if I get the job teaching middle school science. But it does take a little time for my brain to be able to process mathematical operations!

One way that Ive been able to model scale in an elementary setting is by sponsoring embryology. When students first see chicken eggs hatching, then how quickly their chicks grow(though still pretty small), they are shocked when I've brought a three month-old chicken back to school for a visit!

Stephanie Dubin's picture

Authentic Assessment

We talked before about the need of authentic assessment. Some children can demonstrate their understanding of a subject through an essay, project or discussion but may not be able to on a test. We should give our students to have many opportunities to demonsrate comprehension. On the other hand  we talked before that formal assessments provide documentation that can't be argued with. If an administrator walked in to Paul's lesson with another teacher and asked Paul and the other teacher to assess the students their results will be different.

   It seems when you go out of the box and try to better meet your students needs you need to be able to defend yourself. Paul would have had to explain to the administrator or to the upset parent how he assessed  this lesson with no documentation. It can be a frustring experience.

   We also spoke earlier about how a multiplication test might limit and put bounds of a students learning. Inquiry is learning through questioning and the more students question the more you learn. A student who is inquiring and exploring may not go in the direction of the written assessment. It would be hard to rationalize how a formal assesment gives students freedom to explore.

Stephen Cooney's picture

 I remember my frustration

 I remember my frustration with some math software I've used in the past.  The very rigid expectations of the software did not allow for mathematically correct answers that were not formatted precisely in the manner expected by the software.  Argh!!

One thing that could help is to make clear before the assignment, what we expect the students to get out of the lesson, "After this lesson on scale you will be expected to be able to do_____."  That helps give them a focus for the presentation, whether, lecture, hands-on, inquiry.....  It also helps guide us as we conjure up multiple forms of assessment.

Edward Bujak's picture

Semiotics - what?


I would like to continue Steve's thoughts in his first paragraph.
I hear you and totally agree about precise syntax, but what's wrong with that?  As a former software developer, syntax (read as grammar, punctuation, capitalization, ...) is extremely important.   It is what makes any language (spoken, written, computer, ...) compact and meaningful to communicate an intended idea.  I vote for doing syntax correct, the first time and all the time.  I do not want my computer program to try to figure out what it thought I meant when I wrote a program that was syntactically incorrect.  For example what's wrong with:
"English children dog walked market. The pulled tired to hungry"
I can think of at least 6 arrangements for this sytactically correct English "sentence."
Syntax is VERY important for correct decoding of what was intended.  We, as teachers, should grade every student artifact for sytax all the time; not just in English class.
Computational linguistics is an important study about computer languages and it is extremely precise.  Coming close is the language of mathematics including all its nomenclature.  Mathematics is close to a universal language.  Mathematics' utilitarian conventions facilitate efficient communication.  This is true across all subjects, across all disciplines.  We, as teachers, sometimes say we want a rigid curriculum.  I argue that we should practice it, preach it, model it, and expect nothing short of correct form and syntax.
I will leave semantics and pragmatics for another day.  :)
Edward Bujak's picture

STUDENT assesed by TEACHER assessed by ADMINISTRATOR assessed by

STUDENT assessed by TEACHER assessed by PARENTS & ADMINISTRATOR assessed by PRINCIPAL assessed by SUPERINTENDENT/SCHOOL BOARD sssessed by ...

It never stops and that is good!  We should always try to become better.  I agree with Stephanie that the system seems a little crazy when the evaaluator has no clue what she should see or evaluate as "good."  There are administrators who will come into a class and grill the teacher because he/she spent too much time on linear equations/graphs.  WOW!  This teacher did all she could short of filing a grievance in trying to explain why linear equations/graphs are SOOOO very important and require multiple weeks of discussion.  This is just one example, but why are unqualified or uneducated people judging others?  I guess it only gets worse when those rating others have no clue how to evaluate and do not care to learn and do not care to model what they expect.  It's a vicious cycle and yes, frustrating.

Your last paragraph is also interesting.  I would argue it depends on what level I would expect the students at would determine if I would want to do inquiry.  Let's just say by the time a student is in high school, I can guarantee they will not see a inquiry-based lesson on multiplication (of real numbers) from me.  There are some pre-requisite skills and competancies that must be required to move to the next level.  During our "scale" model demonstration inquiry lesson, no one explained how to measure, how to do simple algebra 1 math, how to work cooperatively in small groups, etc

Diane Balanovich's picture

Reaction to posts

I found it interesting that people who teach the subject were very detailed about what they would be looking for in their authentic assessment. Many posts stated ways of assessment that hit multiple intellegences. I added to my post that I would allow students to resubmit their projects if new learning occured while watching peer presentations.

Stephanie Dubin's picture

Reaction to post II

I hate the idea of giving my students a grade for an assignment and moving on to the next assignment and a new grade. I love the idea of ever changing grades, giving them the opportunity to show understanding of the concept. We know that children develop at different rates. So if a child learns a topic later through peer, more assistance or other ways they should be able to get a better grade.

Grades should be written in pencil and we should ditch the pens. We want out students to continue to work hard and continue to learn so grades should be continually changing.

Edward Bujak's picture

Grades should always be in pencil? Well ....

 Stephanie, you make a good point that students should should be provided an opportunity to rework back material ... isn't this learning?  The fact that the student wants to redo something to make it better should be rewarded.

That being said, when do you tink this should stop?

For example at my undergraduate university, your grade was final.  If you EARNED an 'F' you earned a '0."  It was never erased!  And it was part of your GPA!  At some universities you can take any class over again (and over again and over again) and they would expunge the worse grade(s).  What's that about?  I could only figure it was to make the school look better but also pre-meds could get astronomical GPAs.  I have friends who have done this!

I have a time-window as to when a student can "rework" old material.  This prevents the material from getting old or stale, but also prevents the students from doing everything the 3 days before grades are due.


Brie Stark's picture

Your comment gave me an

Your comment gave me an idea: what is the difference between receiving a letter-grade, as most students above elementary school receive, and the scores mostly given to lower-school students, like "exemplary, excellent, satisfactory, acceptable" etc?

I think that people often lose sight of what an 'A' means as compared to a 'B' or a 'C.'  Perhaps we should be reverting to the lower-school level way of grading, as 'exemplary' gives me a lot more information about my progress than 'A' does.  'A' seems very quantitative, as if there is a certain value given to my performance.  In inquiry-based education, we want to assess the student's PROGRESS over time, and therefore I think that words may be more effective in describing the level of progress and growth they have achieved.  'A' to me doesn't really equal 'has grown/progressed excellently/a lot.'

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but it's certainly an idea I'll think more about.


Edward Bujak's picture

Does the nomenclature of the grade matter? It's how the grade w

This is a classic!

A, B, C, D, F

4, 3, 2, 1, 0

exemplary, excellent, satisfactory, acceptable

does it really matter?  Its this a Potato/potatoe issue?

You say "'A' seems very quantitative" ... really?  I would argue that I really hate lumping all the students who EARNED a grade in the 90-100 range because it equates those who earned a 90.001 with those who earned a 99.999.  I do not think that is fair and certainly these students are at different levels and not just an 'A.'

I also would argue that having more steps (like A+,A,A-,B+,B,B-,...) is NOT the solution.  If this were the case I would simply argue to stop all this subtrafuge (Wil's word) and just give the numeric grade that the student earned.

I really think the answer is to grade each student NOT on an absolute scale, but on a PERSONAL relative scale.  This involves a lot of work by the teacher to really know each student's capabilities, strengths, and yes, content knowledge .. then grade each on their personal growth (progress), personal strategies (process), and personal work (product). 

Why do most of us associate differentiation with instruction?  I say differentiate EVERYTHING ... including assessment.


GShoshana's picture

in order to check how much

in order to check how much the student understands this lesson, the kids will work in groups and will prepare different questions about the scaling, switch  the quastions between the groups and have each different group think about the other questions.  This will show if they connect with the deeper topic because they can talk about the other groups' questions and apply them to other situations. This can help practice scaling and math, as well as creatig a bigger picture of the real world

GShoshana's picture

in order to check how much

in order to check how much the student understands this lesson, the kids will work in groups and will prepare different questions about the scaling, switch  the quastions between the groups and have each different group think about the other questions.  This will show if they connect with the deeper topic because they can talk about the other groups' questions and apply them to other situations. This can help practice scaling and math, as well as creatig a bigger picture of the real world

Brie Stark's picture

Really great publication,

Really great publication, Foundations, about why inquiry is useful and some lesson-planning:

Foundations PDF (Chapter 11, page 87 -- great knowledge about how to assess)

I thought image could be especially helpful when finding out exactly WHAT to assess, as well as how.  Click the picture to be directed to the link of YouthLearn.

Deborah Hazen's picture

Great graphic

I really like that this graphic asks the student reflective questions along the way.

Edward Bujak's picture

It's more than great, it's AMAZING

Thanks for the great link.  The NSF funded "Inquiry - Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K-5 Classroom" is AMAZING.

The "In Conclusion" for Chapter 11 Assessment in the Inquiry Classroom, page 96, is really on target!   This is a one-page must read.

I really like how they address formative assessment and summative assessment in the context of an inquiry classroom.


Diedre Bennett's picture

Deidre and Dalia

A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills -- Jon Mueller

An example of an authentic assessment would be to differentiate the assessement/ product.  Some children would be able to use math to show their understanding, other students would orally express the difference,while others would actually create a model to depict scale.





Deidre  and Dalia

Edward Bujak's picture


In UbD, authentic assessment would be a series of tasks to demonstrate mastery with hopefully some basis outside the classroom environment.

Hopefully there is some component about a direct application to the exact lesson (direct synthesis), but more importantly is to assess their understanding in TRANSFERING and MAPPING the skills, knowledge and competencies to something they can relate to.

WRT to scale, I would hope the students could demonstrate direct scaling with the objects measured on the walk-around.  I would hope the students get to the point, over a series of scaling classes, to start asking questions outside of what was presented.  How many of these object fit along the length of your pen length?

Authentic assessment must change over time (progress with the topic), but it will also change (process).  Oh yeah, hopefullly there is product.

Jill Bean's picture

Assessing understanding scale

If I were assessing Paul's activity, I'd use

  • notes about how the different groups and their members interacted with the material throughout the lesson (anecdotal evidence)
  • checking for accurate mesurements (could everyone use a ruler and record in meters successfully?)
  • check to see who was able to make the metric conversions
  • listen to everyone as they shared their answers and explained their stories, what is their thinking?
  • who made the connections from the mesurements we collected and the question "How big is water molecule?" 

These assessments would be largely to determine, what do I need to keep working on?  What is still confusing?  Who needs more help and experience with what?  Where is understanding still being built, still evolving?  Who needs more support with the concepts, who needs to build their skills, who needs enrichment?  I'd like to think more about asking for their understanding about comparing the relative sizes of the different things we measures (similar to Stephen's answer of how many water molecules fit across a hair...)


My eventual goal , and what I think would be an authentic assessment, would be what Stephan was describing: applying and using scale in other projects.  I would want to engage the students in more experiences and practice with scale before using this kind of assessment. 



joycetheriot's picture

Assessment of Scale

If a model is presented that descibes scale, a students could represent their understanding by creating their own model, explaining a model that has been created by someone else, writing a series of questions that describe their confusion about scale, a model of scaling or a writenn narrative  about scale.

Two students could draw a picutre, act out a play, make a movie about how they are a sodium chloride molecule in a drop of water.

I could ge on with so many ideas but I know I could do the assessment in a way that all  could learn, enjoy and be secure in the assessment.

Deborah Hazen's picture

Authentic Assessment on scale

I would want a student to apply scale to a problem or situation that requires an understanding of scale and then share their work with others. Three parts--id a situation or problem in which scale is important, apply scale, share.

It could look differently depending on readiness of the student:

Apply scale to distances in the universe, draw something to scale, explore nanotechnology or virus spread...the student gets to choose the topic and the sophistication to match where they are right now.

Syreeta Bennett's picture

How would I want to be assessed

I was confused because I wasn't sure what the goal of the lesson was.  Was I suppose to have a clear understanding of the size of a water molecule or was I suppose  to see how objects compare along a different scale? So since I'm not clear on the goals, I would like to be assessed on my interaction and engagement with my group. I also would assessed on measurement. I then would probably have  my class write an reflection of the day's lesson and their understanding of the lesson.  As a teacher I could see what worked and what didn't. I would use it as a assessment of me as a teacher. For the students I would see who undersood the lesson and who didn't. I would use this lesson and their feedback to further develop other lessons.

Moira Messick's picture

Post in the Forum below a

Post in the Forum below a description or outline of an example of Authentic Assessment (as you understand it from the definitions of Understanding Scale. 

I would first give the students an outline of lesson goals along with the rubric before the assignment.  I would tweak the goal of the lesson to be "to understand the concept of scale."  We would also review terms that they should know (measurement) before setting them loose.  Students would need to show me in a variety of ways.  They could build a model, draw a picture or present it mathematically if they were so inclined.  EXTRA CREDIT would be to show me the how big a molecule is based on the scale they evaluated downstairs.  This would allow for the application of scale.  The would be assessed with a rubric to include the following  aspects:  

Measurement calculations      10  8  6  4  2  1

Content                                  10  8  6  4  2  1

On-Task                                  10  8  6  4  2  1

                                                      _______  /        30pts


Extra credit: Show me how many molecules would be in a water drop.


RecycleJack Marine's picture


Oh my, Moira, I do remember those extra credit opportunities...i.e. Max and Koty!!

Edward Bujak's picture

Max, Koty, extra credit?

Who is Max and Koty?  :)

Do you believe in EXTRA CREDIT? I do not know where I stand on extra credit?

Scenario #1:  Parent and/or adminstrator comes to you 3 days before a marking period grade is due and electronically available grading system indicates little Johnny is EARNING a 43%.  And the question IS: "Can Johnny have some extra credit work to "get" a passing grade.  My classic answer is: I do not provide extra credit work to individual students.  I allow that opportunity to EVERYONE at various times during the marking period.  I also say that ALL students are provided a window to rework anything THEY do not like.  Little Johnny will not get any personal opportunites, but he still can work on thos old opportunities which he apparently has NOT taken advantage of ... Johnny still has 3 days to do what was expected of him the firstg time around.

Scenario #2:  I find only the more motivated students do extra credit.  Is this true for others.  Some students read extra credit and leave it totally blank repeatedly.  The motivated kids are probably not struggling with their grades so I am not helping boost up the grades fo rthose who need help.  I mixed up on this phenomenon.  I try to give points out and they do not take them!

Moira Messick's picture

Max and Koty Rock:)

Max and Koty are Jack's kids...I had the pleasure of teaching their creative and brilliant minds in my program.

I am glad that you brought up extra credit.  I think that your points are valid and I suppose a more appropriate label would be an "enrichment activity."  At this point in the lesson, I would be satisfied if students could show me in a mode of their choice that they understood what they have done in the scaling activity.  The goal of my lesson, in grade 7 would be to map out scale and perhaps to transfer their understanding of scale to an example that is meaningful (and concrete?) to them.  Being able to apply their learning to a drop of water is an excellent assessment of their understanding that surpasses the goal.  Leading to the question of how high do we set our expectations for our kids.  Different grade levels should have to demostrate different levels of mastery...

I was reading your reactions to "A, B, C, D.... = 1,2,3,4" in terms of assigning grades and I agree with you wholeheartedly.  In the book "The Skillful Teacher," authors Saphier and Gower suggest that the only grades that make sense are "A," "B," and "Not yet" (provided the criteria has been clearly mapped out in terms of attaining mastery).  This is interesting to me, as we are in such a grade-driven society.  The program that I teach, "Communique" started off as nongraded so the focus could stay on the learning process rather than the letter grade.  Everyone was excited about this notion until parents and students realized they would not be eligible for honor roll.  So, the program (d?)evolved into O, S, or U with antecdotal recommendations for students to achieve mastery.  Assignments received many comments along with a "check, check plus, or check minus" (*yet another way to say "A,B,C,D...potato/potAto?) to act as a snapshot of where they were on the road to mastery.   That worked well for about ten years until Powergrade came onto the scene.  Parents loved the portfolio assessment and the parent/student/teacher written reflections on their child's progress each quarter but where was the "hard data" on Powergrade that they could access at anytime.   And so, about three years ago we started assigning number grades to assignments in a way that would allow for breathing room (assessed a large variety of their progress including assigning "extra points" to those who brought in many "Communique Challenges" on a daily basis.  We start each day with Communique Challenges...this is where students bring in something from "their" real world that connects with what we are learning in school. ). 

Ok, it is Friday night at 10...time to say good night and happy weekend:)

Judith Lucas-Odom's picture

Authentic Assessment

Understanding scale authentic assessment could be assessed by having them create a model that explains scale  or it could be demonstrated via powerpoint, poster, verbal, singing, dancing what their creation to scale would look like.  The class can assess them based on a rubric we developed as a class for understanding what SCALE IS!  They could also create an extension activity for someone else to do and see if they can follow the steps to make their scale.

RecycleJack Marine's picture

Scale of Pickles

I think students need an assessment that measures their ability to apply skills practiced in an earler lessson, like determining the thickness of the alumninum foil pieces. If you are teaching students about density, I would give students two jars of the same ounces of pickles. I would ask them to determine which of the jar contents are more dense.

Students would have to measure the length and width and mass of the pickles, to determine it's density.

(I think)

If they could prove their conclusions(even if incorrect), I think this would determine if they learned anything.

Stephen Cooney's picture

Authentic assessment on scale

 Authentic assessment on understanding scale


As a preliminary task ask the students to try and describe the size of something smaller or bigger than that can accurately measure, think atom, planet…

         To get a sense of what they know, how well they can express themselves-


After the lesson, go through the part of the conversation we had, “describe how big a water molecule is”, without any rigid guidelines

         To see what got through in this first turn through the topic, and to describe what their thinking is-


In a subsequent lesson, have them test their understanding of scale in a different context, but on a similar order of magnitude (us to a water molecule), one with specific measureable results.

         Transference of ‘owned’ knowledge-

Diane Balanovich's picture

authentic asssessment

If I had to come up with an assessement, I suppose I would come up with a list of different activities that would allow the studnets to explain or discuss what they understood about scale. Maybe models,essays, demonstrations and oral presentations etc.  I would create a rubric for myself to check off the points that I would be looking for in any of the above presentations. I would also leave the opportunity for studnets to refine and resubmit their project, if better understanding came while watching or listening to other studnets projects.

Diane Balanovich's picture

authentic assessment

I enjoyed listening to everyone's explaination of a water molecule. The train of thought for each person in the class leveled their response from simple to complex and also multiple explainations. What a wonderful way to go back and think about metacognition, what was the thinking behind the thinking that lead to the answers presented to class. In first grade we always go over math problems and then students have an opportunity to explain the train of thought that lead them to their answer.


How would you assess this activity? I'm not sure how you would decide the grade. Even when observing studnets and seeing their growth, how do you determine a letter or number grade? I guess I would put more weight on the process and less on the content. ???

Edward Bujak's picture

How would you assess .. grade?

With subjective grades I suggest a small scale 0,1,2,3.  It makes it easy for you.  And do it everyday as fast as you can after the class or write it down on a roster that you carry around the class on a clipboard.  After a while a pattern will surface.

Also do not try to grade everyone everyday.  It's crazy and we need to immerse ourselves and find out what their processes are in their inquiry.

Also there is no makeup or rework on class participation.  How would you do that?

Try to do this often for all students.  An electronic gradebook REALLY helps (even if it is a spreadsheet)!

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