09 April 2014

Transforming Assessment for/and/of Learning

Stop Marking and Start Giving Feedback

Here's a magnificent example of how assessment can be transformed by the effective use of digital technologies.

Replace, Amplify or Transform - RAT

It is so easy for even powerful applications of ICT to be little more than replacement for traditional tools and methods, maybe amplified—by that I mean, maybe there are benefits in terms of amplification, like speed, or efficacy, maybe the activity is more motivating, maybe it uses less paper, but is it really changing learning; or the kinds of teaching you can do?

If not, then it's not transformative, and it's not what I am aiming to see in the classrooms of the teachers I 'coach'.

So, one of our Grade 5 teachers is transforming formative assessment, and he's doing it by cleverly combining two powerful tools, in a synergetic way that amplifies the potential and possibilities of both, here using Google Doc comments and QuickTime screen recording.

Now he's been using screen recording for some time to give feedback to his students, and then he started experimenting with getting his students to use the same method to create a 'learning talk' to explain the rational behind their writing choices for him, great, but the problem with that is you now have 22 x 2-3 minute videos to 'mark' and the problem with video compared to text, is you can really 'skim' it, and annotating it? Not easy, certainly not as easy as paper.

In short video is great for pushing content to kids, but it sucks for pulling content from kids.

Unless… you get the kids to use each other as resources, what I call P2P (peer to peer), what Dylan William calls 'Students as resources for one another'.

So, have a look at this video, by an 'ordinary' student, on an 'ordinary' day in an 'ordinary' classroom at UWCSEA, but one who is transforming learning of her peers.


It's worth pointing out exactly why this is transformative, because it leverages 4 out of the 5 unique affordances of ICTs, that I call 'SAMMS'; this work is:

Situated - This student can start the work at school, continue at home, and seamlessly return to at school no problem, any space, any place, any time, that suits her.

Multimodal - Text and speech = win win.

Mutable - the workload implications of acting on feedback are minimised compared to paper. Feedback annotation on paper would effectively require the student to start again and rewrite the entire thing from scratch - the my ability of the screen mean edits and revisions can be made quickly and simply, and supported by supportive proof-reading tools.

Social - This document has effectively become a micro-community, two students and one teacher, but it's not one way. Following the feedback, any of the 3 parties involved can pitch in with comments to clarify, redirect, reinforce, resolve… Invite others to join in? the possibilities are endless!