Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Experiment with Alternative Assessments

As I reported in Experimenting with Assessments I wanted to attempt some alternate assessment options in my American Government Class this semester, so I launched an experiment during our first unit.

I hoped to place less emphasis on points earned through "objective" quizzes and tests.  So I created a plan where performance on the final test could be used to determine the unit grade if scores on the earlier quizzes demonstrated to me that studetnts were engaging with the material.  More significantly, students could opt out of the big test altogether and substitute performance on a project:

The results were pretty disappointing:

1) Only about 15% were inclined to do the projects and their numbers were halved as the deadline approached for the project.  They decided to take their chances with the test rather than invest energy in a project.

2) The two project alternatives attracted equal interest.  The slides tended to be better, but two of the students disregarded basic directions.  The surveys were consistently executed well, but only one student (who sought feed back ahead of time) actually got at the main concept ("legitimacy" that lay at the root of the assignment.

3) The grading scheme helped several students, however only in a handful of cases did the alternative grading systems make significant difference grade

I am pleased to know that a few kids really responded to the project options and got more out of the projects that simply going ahead and bombing another test.  But before I try something like this again, I need to retool.

A student's survey results pictured above.

No comments:

Blog Archive