Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

What Do Students Think Are The Best Ways To Assess Their Learning?

| 7 Comments

Today is the last day of our first quarter, and I had my IB Theory of Knowledge students work in groups of three to prepare presentations on this topic:

How do each of the Ways Of Knowing — Perception, Language, Reason, and Emotion — help and hinder our search for knowledge. Give examples of each.

I suspect that the assignment won’t make much sense if you’re not familiar with the course, but most teachers certainly are familiar with the idea of students making presentations as summative assessments.

I had students prepare posters and six minute presentations that they gave in a “speed-dating” style — two groups would present to each other and then one would move to the right. Each group presented three times. You can see a short video of them at our class blog.

Afterwards, students also answered two questions:

1. Do you think preparing and giving the presentation was a fair and accurate way to assess your understanding of what we learned this quarter? Why or why not?

2. Would a more formalized test — multiple choice or essay — been a more fair and more accurate way to assess your understanding of what we learned this quarter? Why or why not?

Here are representative responses:

1. Do you think preparing and giving the presentation was a fair and accurate way to assess your understanding of what we learned this quarter? Why or why not?

It was fair because we shared opinions while learning new ways to interpret knowledge.

No, because in order for it to be accurate we would have needed loads more time.

Yes, it was fair and accurate because you could really compare with others. If they had a different answer you could always ask why.

Yes, I think it was a great review for me to understand the ways of knowing and I was able to see how others interpreted them. I saw new wways that can add to my understanding.

2. Would a more formalized test — multiple choice or essay — been a more fair and more accurate way to assess your understanding of what we learned this quarter? Why or why not?

It would have been worse because we’d memorize the information rather than really thinking things through and coming up with visuals and stories.

It would have been worse. Since it is only about you, then you can’t really compare with others.

It would have been worse because I wouldn’t have enjoyed it.

Reactions?

Print Friendly

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

7 Comments

  1. Hi Larry,
    Important questions and interesting results. I fully agree that students should be involved in their own assessments. I will be using similar questions in the near future and expect similar answers.
    The speed-presenting is a great idea!
    I have used a similar set-up to what you describe this year but had my groups all present to the entire class and discussed with them whether they had learned enough by preparing and presenting to have been able to do a test (which we didn’t do).
    Can I ask how you now finally ‘graded’ or rewarded the presentations by the students and their assessments?
    Frans Droog

  2. I really like the point your students make about the potential in assignments like this for sharing insights and adding to their understanding. More conventional tasks are essentially private, and miss such affordances.

    Having groups present simultaneously is very efficient (time cost is a common problem for presentation assignments) although you don’t say how they were graded using this arrangement, and that would be interesting to hear about.

    • Paul,

      You’re right, I should have included a line about how I handled grading.

      On that score, I probably could have been more thoughtful. I just asked students to grade themselves on their understanding of the concepts, the quality of their presentation, and the quality of the questions they asked of the other presenters. I combined that with my observations.

      Larry

  3. This has been my theme for the year! The bulletin board in my classroom has each way of knowing up and then two questions…..

    Powerful?
    Perilous?

    Now, of course I realize my word choice speaks to the ways of ways of knowing but the idea is that each time we discuss a topic they consider this.

    I think this is a great activity and helps students work on counterclaims for both the EA and IA.

    What would be interesting is having students on teams to debate either a WOK despite the hindrances being the “best” WOK and/or have them conduct the same activity with the AOK and then have them decide whose arguments were the most convincing and why. They could defect to another group to determine which group has the most students as the winners.

    As for my bulletin board….I can move forward with making it interactive with stickies or index cards.

  4. Pingback: Content Curation as Assessment for Learning - Curate Content

  5. Larry,
    Thank you for sharing this. I teach a Speech Class as part of an ESL curriculum. I look forward to using the speed-presentation idea. In addition to saving time, I like the idea that the students hear several other presentations.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.