Alternative Assessments

It’s high time that we take control over assessments! For too long, we, as educators, have based our teaching on THE test. Sure we followed curriculum, but our assessments mimicked that of THE test. I, for one, am tired of being a slave to test makers. Not only do they get to decide how my students will prove their knowledge, they’re also making boku bucks off of the deal. I know, doesn’t sound right. I say, let’s start a revolution!

                            Say NO to the bubble!

Photo Credit: COCOEN daily photos via Compfight cc

I realize that the tests aren’t going away anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I have to continue to be a slave to them. I believe that if I allow a student to show me their knowledge in the form of their choice, they will, in most cases, be able to transfer that knowledge to any meaningless, fill-in-the-bubble test.

There is a problem with this new way of thinking. I have to have buy in from administrators, parents, and students. They have to also see the value in alternative assessments. I have had administrators say that alternative assessments were good, but in reality, they weren’t okay with it all. I take part of the blame for this. I didn’t document the assessment properly. One particular assessment was when I had 2nd graders label the parts of a flower. The students created 3D flowers and labeled the parts with stickers. That was great, but the project then went home. What I SHOULD have done was to take video or pictures of the process and final products. But even then I’m not sure this particular administrator would have been convinced.

So what do I do now? I use web tools! There are a ton of free web tools that allow students to show their knowledge. As of late, I have been using: Go Animate!, Animoto, Voki, We Video, and upload videos straight to Vimeo (YouTube is blocked in my district), Edublogs, and house everything on my Google Site. I currently have students working together to create a website on decimals. Many of their assessments are being housed there. Soon, my students will archive their work on their own e-portfolio (Google Site). These are just a few of the tools that my students are using. They use them for all subjects. These are 5th graders, but have used Google Sites with 3rd graders. I would do this with almost any grade level. Look at the possibilities, not limitations.

Here a second language learner was able to explain how 6.42 rounds to 6.4 using Voki. She wrote it out and was able to type it in Voki. It is clear that she understands the concept, and it’s way more interesting to review than a boring piece of paper.

So let’s stand up, and show testing companies how REAL assessments look! Let the revolution begin.

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