What is the purpose of education? Is it to teach the correct responses or is it to teach how to reflect, analyze, think critically and become good citizens of the 21st Century?
Indirect measure of competence in use of their knowledge. Test only cover one domain of knowledge to prevent ambiguity. There is only one correct answer and no chance to revise and think about improvement. Cannot measure higher order thinking. Do not show how a student may have organized his/her thinking. Do not demonstrate progress or mastery of a skill. Pressure of timing can distort the scores
Students tasks incorporate a range of skills that mirror the challenges of the real world. Focus on the processes, feedback and revision. There is no one correct answer. Demonstrates higher order thinking in skills that involve “analysis, interpretation, and multiple perspectives” Comparing Traditional and Performance based Assessment. Students receive feed back as they complete the project, and the assessment turns into an opportunity to evaluate and learn. Encourage “metacognition”, or how a student thinks.
Traditional tests are reliable but not valid. Reliability is the consistency and precision of test scores. Answers are obviously right or wrong, and scoring is considered objective, but they don’t really measure the full scope of a students knowledge. Performance assessments (projects)are valid but not reliable measures because scoring can be subjective if not monitored and planned. Validity is how well a test measures what it says it measures. With projects there is no correct answer, but these tasks reflect real world situations and foster knowledge that is relevant and intrinsic.
Eeva Reeder demonstrates how performance or project based assessment is a true and valid indication of mastery of a subject. Her Geometry class, in Mountlake Terrace High School, demonstrate their mastery of the subject by designing a high school. The project includes site planning, model development, cost estimates, and formal proposals. Take a Deeper look at Assessment for Understanding
Data from test scores can be used to address weaknesses and improve instruction or it can be misleading if the basis of the data is only standardized testing. Test scores in standardized tests are objective and can be used to indicate learning. High scores on standardized test can reflect an increase in authentic literacy learning, but they do not show the deficiency in offering students “intellectually challenging tasks” (Schmoker, 2009, p. 70). Tasks that teach students to analyze, conduct research, invent, synthesize, and think critically. Emphasis on test scores can prevent improvement in teaching because teachers are evaluated on how well they teach based on these scores. As a result, much time is spent on test-prep activities instead of “authentic teaching and learning”(Schmoker, 2009, p.71).
In Indiana ISTEP and ECA scores are the focus of measuring success, but this may be changing due to implementation of the Common Core Standards. Because of the reduced quantity of content, teachers will be able to go more in depth in the subjects covered. The new focus on literacy and critical thinking will better prepare our students for college.
If we take the example of New York Performance Standards Consortium of 28 High Schools who used a method of data collection through project based learning ,the results of this New York Project are evident in comparing the dropout rate of these schools to other New York City schools. The New York consortium schools have a dropout rate of 9.9 percent and the City School’s rate is 19.3 percent. Along with this data, college acceptance of the consortium schools is 91% as compared to 63% from City schools. (Schmoker, 2009)
Instead of focusing on test scores alone to measure learning, students completed four projects encompassing the core academic areas for graduation: “(1) literary analysis, (2) science experiment and related research project, (3) extended mathematics problem solving project, and (4) a research paper in social studies demonstrating the use of argument and evidence”(Schmoker, 2009).
Rubrics for these projects were designed by a collection of high school faculty, college professors and local professionals. Exemplary “anchor” projects were also provided. Every summer a group of teachers and college professors take a random sample of 150 projects to evaluate and see if they meet the standards. Feedback is then given to the schools along with suggested areas for improvement. This pressure of evaluation has driven the teachers to make sure the students produce “creative quality work”(Schmoker, 2009).
Along with this feedback, teams of teachers meet weekly to evaluate student projects and compare these to the anchor projects. They give critical feedback before the final projects are due. Through collaboration, teachers have even found ways to integrate the projects into their academic units instead of “adding these projects on as something extra”(Schmoker, 2009).
After watching the video and reading about how standardized tests are truly created in Put to the Test :Standardized Tests, I am convinced that to truly assess if a student has mastered the material taught, portfolio based assessments are the best method. The reading on standardized tests shows that there is bias involved in the creation of the tests and they really are not as objective as they state.
Grant Wiggins notes that to test is to determine the “worth of a product or a person’s effort”, with the idea that “a test measures knowledge or ability after the fact, and the product of learning will contain in itself all of the information that the evaluator needs to know about the learners and the quality of thinking processes” (Comparing Traditional and Performance based Assessment). if the product is just the answer to one question then it is not a good test, but if the product is a portfolio then the quality of thinking can be truly be measured.
Wiggins also says that to assess “requires time as well as interaction between the person and the assessor…, so that the congruence between underlying mental processes and surface observation, can be verified. The idea is that the product is not sufficient evidence of the quality of the thinking that produced it” (Comparing Traditional and Performance based Assessment). A portfolio, as an assessment, would demonstrate the “quality of thinking that produced it".
M. Schmoker, (2009), Measuring What Matters, Educational Leadership, vol. 66(4), pp. 70-74. G. Bracey, (2002), Standardized Tests, Put to the Test: An Educator’s and Consumer’s Guide to Standardized Testing (pp. 26-45). Comparing Traditional and Performance based Assessment http://www.edutopia.org/comprehensive-assessment-overview- video Student portfolios vs. Standardized tests Facts on standardized tests and assessment alternatives Take a Deeper look at Assessment for Understanding
Group of students working in front of computer http://kidseducationalwebsites.blogspot.com/2011/01/proje ct-based-learning-lesson-plans.html http://www.bie.org/about/what_is_pbl/ Students constructing a model with wood Face profile with writing in it Model of building kid taking test