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@cherietoledo and I were discussing this article about and video of a University of Central Florida professor who forced all his students to re-take their midterm exam after he discovered that many of his students gained access to the publisher's test bank that he uses for exams.

Our suggested topic for November 30th is: How do we move education from a 'studying for the test' winner/loser model of assessment to one that supports and informs learning for all our students, e.g., multimodal, formative, collaborative?
Assessment to me is useful if it is part of the learning process, but from a completely different perspective from how it is regarded at the moment in general.
I believe assessment is useful if it raises sts' awareness of what they know and what they need to imporve on. After sts identify their OWN areas (not the ones I tell them), I guide them towards resources they can use to find their answers from. I truly believe that putting more emphasis on self-assessment brings more benefits to the learner and the learning process than a traditional progress- or end-of the course test.
So during and even at the end of a course this is the process I use with any age-group.

Step1: tell the sts about the steps and the reasons behind this way of testing
Step2.: They write the test with no help. (traditional)
Step3: I mark it as they finish by ticking the right answers and ? for the wrong answers
Step4: They start looking for places in their book/WB/notes/computer, etc where the answers might be. (teacher guided process)
Step5: They correct as many ? as possible on their own using the resources they have found OR I guided them to.
Step6: I mark them again as in Step 3.
Step7: THEY write their questions they would like to know more about the language points or ideas from the reading, etc they had problems with.
Step8: Discuss their questions in groups to find out as many answers as possible (peer teaching combined with micro-teaching).

I have found this process frutiful both with adults, young adults and young learners. Used it in very mixed ability classes as well (learners were from beginner to low intermediate level) and it had very good results. Noone felt bad, frustrated, as this type of assessment has become part of their OWN learning and it was not regarded as assessment for the sake of it.

I can share more details about this process if there are people interested in it.
@erikaosvath
Thank you, Erika, this is very helpful and most certainly an approach that emphasizes assessment for learning. For colleagues who teach large classes (100-300 students) do you think this approach would still be effective? Do you use this mainly for fact-based exams or do you also use this for assessments that ask students to analyze, synthesize and create--as in a presentation product or essay? I am thinking that would then be another kind of assessment. And what would you say to those who still want to or must deliver traditional, individual grades to each student?

Thanks again for sharing!
Hi Barbara,
Yes, I think I can imagine this in the context of large classes as well. However, in this case the management of the process would need to be reviewed.
I have used this process in teaching English as a Foreign Language, and part of this is, for example, essay writing or delivering a presentation. In these cases, for each of these we have clear criteria for the particular type of writing or presentation, which learners are aware of. They are also made aware of the fact that the assessment criteria in these cases are subjective, but there are certain standards that all of agree on, i.e. we do together the analyis and "marking" a piece of presentation or writing together.

Then they do their own, I mark them with a few comments on the areas they need to improve on. They go away looking for supporting material, with my guidance, if necessary and rewrite their piece. This is a longer process, as they can also comment on each other's piece of work as well, and may have to / want to rewrite it several times. This technique, in EFL terms is referred to as process writing.
With presentations, I like to first analyse videos of good presentations to for learners to become aware of the criteria. Then they prepare their own presentations, we video them and watch them back.

As for a group of 100-300 sts, I would divide them up into groups of 20 max, where they work as a team in helping each other through this process through commenting, giving feedback to each other, etc.

As a final note for those who want to or must deliver traditional, individual grades to each student, when I have to do it (e.g. the company requires their employees to get a final grade at the end of the course, I sometimes give them the average percentage, though this is the number that does not show much. To those companies, clients, who are more receptive and open to this type of assessment, I present both grades: the one received at the initial stage and the one received at the final stage. The difference between the two is far more important than the "average" as it shows the potential and the attitude of the learner.

This is easier to understand, it you we look at the following example:

St A receives 30% at the initial stage and 70% at the end of the process, averaging out to 50%. This shows a great potential for develpoment (reasons for potential can, of course, vary greatly from one learner to another)

St B receives 50% at the initial stage and 50% at the end of the process, again averagind out at 50%. So there was no progress at all, no potential for development.

I believe it is key to write a few comments about the reasons behind the difference between these two grades to those who require them rather than giving them a number that does not have any value in itself: it does not tell me anything about this person.

Hope it helps :-)
Thank you so much, Erika, this is truly wonderful and very, very helpful. I will share this with my students. It's so important to learn from teachers who actually assess in ways that value student learning. I appreciate so much the time you took to share this with me (and everyone else here).
I'm happy I was able to help. Do let me know how it goes with your students.

It is not easy to start implementing such a completely different type of assessment. Both learners and teachers will have to compare the two, going through their affect on learning. So you may want to start off with presenting the two and asking their opinion, letting all points of view heard and reflected upon.
This is an important step before you do this type of assessment first.
Another thing that I do whenever I introduce something new - new technique, method, etc - to either teachers or learners is asking them to reflect on the experience right after the first 'trial'. They talk about how they felt during the process, why, how was it different from - in this case - the other type of assessment, what they think it lead to, etc.
So,
1. Description of the process to the learners/staff
2. Eliciting opinions/feelings about it (very often at this stage it is not received well and this is quite natural)
3. Trying it out with the aim of being able to reflect on the experience
4. Reflecting individually and in groups/whole class (even if there are 300) on the experience.

You will see how attitudes differ at stage 2 adn 4 :-). It always happens. Although not with every learner/teacher, but there're always a few who oppose the new idea.

Good luck and let us know about your experiences.
Fabulous! Will do, Erika, and thank you again!
I would like to talk about digital educational lesson content. Specifically the benefit/drawbacks of purchased pre-create lesson content/materials versus teacher created lesson content/materials.
Using technology with purpose in a way that encourages critical thinking.

Ideas for team building within a school, i.e. teachers with administration (program leaders or departments heads with administration)--- and/or

 

Ideas for meaningful exercises and activities for a team building retreat for school leaders and administration.

Alternative education ideas that cover curriculum expectations but also engage at-risk students.

Why do most school districts allow zeros? Why can't the lowest F a student earns be 50%? We have given the "0" high value when in reality it destroys kids. When in life is a "0" given or even accepted? What is your district's philosophy and policy?

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