Creating Authentic Assessments for In-depth Learning
Assessments is an integral part of class instruction. It’s becoming a bad habit for some teachers to deeply rely on using assessments that goes with the course textbook they’ve been teaching or strictly follow the standardized testing templates to use on their instruction. Even these recommendations are products of research and practices, teachers should design their own assessments according to their students’ needs and interests. As 21st century educators, we should always look deeply into what our students are capable of rather than what we think they can do and use it as motivating factor for us to create authentic learning outcomes.
As much as formative assessments help students to conform concepts and ideas of certain lessons and nourish their learning, it's the assessment while learning and after learning verifies if they actually get it the lesson at the end of the day. Summative assessments like standardized testing sometimes can be too ideal, solving or applying concepts that are theoretically simulated that mostly don’t happen in real life but at the same time it enhances student’s skill in problem solving. Whereas for project-based learning, it has assessments while the students are learning and also assess students after learning. Students actually use the current knowledge of what they’re learning and applying it to real life scenarios and resent their own understanding and interpretation of knowledge.
Project-based learning also produces authentic assessments, which used constructivist approach of teaching students. Thus, making the learning more meaningful and at the same time, aimed to strengthened the concepts covered by their curriculum outcomes. But did you know that creating authentic assessments can also promote in-depth learning? When you design or innovate an assessment that fit to your students’ profile, you’re also bringing the best of your students.
Here are some helpful tips on how are you going to create authentic assessments for your students.
1) Review your curriculum outcomes to cover for a unit. Collaborate with other teachers of your field and gain as many ideas as you can and put it all together.
2) Plan what kind of project that will cover all or most of the curriculum outcomes. Depending on the student’s ability, this can be guided, differentiated, or a mixed of both instructions.
3) Try to research about what materials that can be easily purchased or acquired by the students. Provide references and weblinks for additional information of the project or similar projects then create a project design instruction for the students.
4) Introduce the idea in the beginning of the unit so students can pick up some ideas along the way to create a meaningful outcome.
5) Students can be grouped according to their interests.
Example: Application of Laws of Motion
Students can be grouped into: music enthusiasts, computer/technology geeks, sports/game minded individuals, language inclined, etc.
Purpose: In chosen fields, how can they apply the Laws of motion?
Computer Group: Create animation and calculation or even simulation.
Sports/Game Group: Forces in Playing baseball or other games
Language Inclined Group: Will create a poster or PowerPoint presentation
6) Students should be given the chance to choose how they will present their project outcomes. This will make students to use different formats learned from English/Technology courses that can be fully utilized to gain mastery.
7) Always make a timeline for the students to complete the project. Don’t forget to give them working period during class so you can supervise if they have started or discuss some problems that needs help or revision.
8) Don’t evaluate right away when they’re done. A week before the deadline, conduct a pre-evaluation of the project. This should be done to avoid delays and to ensure that at least 80% of the projects has been already established. Also, provide feedback and discuss with the group. Also, this will give some time for students to innovate or enhance their product outcome.
9) Let the students present their product outcomes in front of the audience. Always make sure they also provide a report that compiles their processes of their work and summarizes the key concepts they need to cover. This will boost their confidence and improve their communication skills. During this time, you can also let your students do peer assessments or provide feedback to their classmate’s work.
10) Always summarize the outcomes of their presentations in class and give your feedback afterwards so they can reflect and do better on their next work.
Giving the projects at the end of the lessons may stressed the students from creating their product outcomes thus you might have more chances of collecting poor quality of work. Or, in some cases, it will affect the performance of students in other courses if they put all their time into it and neglecting the other responsibilities that they have. Well-planned projects save a lot of time and students can maximize their full potentials. Plus, students are constantly engaged in the construction of their learning and they get to learn or explore other basic survival skills as well as critical thinking skills. With this, you can definitely say that you're students are learning something and it shows from their works. Project-based learning also improves student's achievement level on their summative assessments as they have better understanding of the problems they're about to solve or answer.