Yesterday I took part in a multi-division professional development day on assessment and critical thinking. My division has been enamoured with Assessment for Learning for the longest time, but I have not been able to effectively transfer that knowledge into effective summative assessment in my math courses. I have, for the most part, stuck with the traditional assessment methods.
My foray into Project Based Learning necessitates a shift, and that shift was finally solidified through my activity with peers at the sessions. I scratched down a form of project assessment, and labeled it “Continuum Assessment”. I called it this for three reasons:
- Placing something on a continuum requires a large amount of critical thinking.
- A continuum implies that there is room for growth. This “growth mindset” aligns perfectly with my department’s priority this year.
- It avoids an quantitative scale when reflecting.
The process goes as follows:
- I begin the assessment process by asking the students to tabulate a list of characteristics of a good project.
- Initially, each suggestion is placed on the board. I will suggest topics if they are overshadowed, and even bargain to include some aspects.
- Every characteristic that makes the final cut is assigned a continuum on the assessment. The continuum contains no marks or labels.
- Below each continuum, there are two spaces. One is for evidence of their assessment, and the other is for improvements on their performance.
- Examples of projects are presented to the students. They fill out mock assessments with good, written evidence and improvements. The assessments are discussed and the characteristics are altered, added, or deleted (if needed).
- Each student completes an assessment on their own project individually, and each group is assigned a partner group to complete an assessment on.