Monday, March 20, 2017

Assessment: Thinking on puzzle pieces

"puzzle pieces" flickr photo by cadavis9797 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
Continued thinking here on assessment
As a critical piece(s) in a learning picture
Drawing from personal experiences
And readings
And my beliefs on learning
Wanting to more deeply understand the potential of leveraging the power of technology to transform assessment

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE (excerpted from an earlier post)
Out of sync
Always wanting better
Not in agreement
Time and time again

More than 45 years ago, GRE exams
My answers and scores significantly impacted by the recent death of my mom
Not a reflection of my learning at all
More than 30 years ago, a Master's thesis and comprehensive exams
Real opportunities to demonstrate what I had learned
More than a decade ago, applying for a new position and answering a question on assessment
Replying that the process and the projects themselves illustrated what students had learned
In that new position, creating rubrics for projects for high schoolers aspiring to become teachers
Knowing that the state used the same type of rubrics to assess new teachers
Crying in the car after being told to change the rubrics to written tests by an old school CTE administrator
Almost 14 years ago, with a terrible cold, an appointment to take the assessment component as a NBPTS candidate
Timed testing, no kleenex allowed in the testing room, cranking out as fast as I could responses to 6 questions
No time to think
High stakes testing even for our beloved Harley as his obedience training classes came to completion
In the dark in a strange park, he would not stay as I walked away passing 9 of 10 tasks and failing
He curled up in the corner of the back seat with his head down on the way home
Some 6 years ago, designing and creating online professional development courses for Ohio teachers
Always pushing back against suggestions of quizzes, of tests
Pulling for learner created content and powerful questions that enabled deeper learninG
Grades, points, projects, quizzes, standardized tests, rubrics--
And then MOOC 2008 with vast learning landscapes, autonomy, openness and distributed learning
I assessed my learning in the open here on this blog (in the blog search box, enter CCK08 for 6 pages of posts)
That learning experience was empowering and scary and full of wonder
HEUTAGOGY (as a foundation)
Heutagogy (based on the Greek for “self”) was defined by Hase and Kenyon in 2000 as the study of self-determined learning. Heutagogy applies a holistic approach to developing learner capabilities, with learning as an active and proactive process, and learners serving as “the major agent in their own learning, which occurs as a result of personal experiences” (Hase & Kenyon, 2007, p. 112). As in an andragogical approach, in heutagogy the instructor also facilitates the learning process by providing guidance and resources, but fully relinquishes ownership of the learning path and process to the learner, who negotiates learning and determines what will be learned and how it will be learned (Hase & Kenyon, 2000; Eberle, 2009). 
When designing a self-determined learner experience, certain considerations should be made. A heutagogical approach to learning and teaching is characterized first and foremost by learner-centeredness in terms of both learner-generated contexts and content. Course design elements that support learner-centeredness in a heutagogical approach are presented below.
 Learner-defined learning contracts: Learning contracts support students in defining and determining their individual learning paths. These individualized contracts, such as those used at distance education institution Empire State College (see, define what will be learned (e.g., scope), how it will be learned (e.g., teaching and learning approaches, learning activities), and what will be assessed and how it will be assessed (Kenyon & Hase, 2010; Gilbert, 1975; Cristiano, 1993).     
Flexible curriculum: In a self-determined learning environment, the learner is the driver in creating flexible curriculum, which is defined by the student: learners create the learning map, and instructors serve as the compass (Hase & Kenyon, 2007; Hase, 2009). Flexible curriculum in this sense is negotiated action learning, which adapts and evolves according to learner needs (Hase, 2009; Hase & Kenyon, 2007). Learners negotiate “how, when, where and to what upper (rather than minimal) level they want to take their learning” (Hase, 2009, p. 47).     
Learner-directed questions: Learner-directed questions and the discussion that results from these questions are what guide learners and serve as mechanisms for helping learners make sense of course content, bring clarity to ideas, and promote individual and group reflection (Kenyon & Hase, 2001; Eberle, 2009). Guiding learners to define self-directed questions is one of the biggest challenges facing developers of heutagogical courses, as designers must be “creative enough to have learners ask questions about the universe they inhabit” (Kenyon & Hase, 2001, para. 29).     
Flexible and negotiated assessment: In heutagogy, the learner is involved in designing his or her assessment. Negotiated and learner-defined assessment has been shown to improve the motivation of learners and their involvement in the learning process, as well as make learners feel less threatened by instructor control of their learning process (Hase & Kenyon, 2007, p. 115; Hase, 2009; Ashton & Elliott, 2007; Canning, 2010). One way of incorporating negotiation into the assessment process is through the use of learning contracts (Hase, 2009). The assessment should include measurable forms of assessing understanding of content, including whether the learner has achieved the competencies desired. Rubrics can also be used effectively in guiding learners in their self-assessment process, for example by assessing “discussion skills, quality of work, outcomes, collaboration, academic soundness and knowledge of material” (Eberle, 2008, p. 186).
Another dually important characteristic of heutagogy is that of reflective practice, “a critical learning skill associated with knowing how to learn” (Hase, 2009, p. 49).

Dean Shareski talking assessment as learning
Of documenting learning along the way and reflecting
And the big advantage that technology affords  
Documenting with blogs and vido
That enables feedback from others 
And opportunities to self assess quality of work

from Cathy N. Davidson

Why Student-Centered Learning Needs An Alternative Credentialing Mechanism Cathy N Davidson

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts I’m writing based on my own experiences with student-centered, open, peer, or connected learning (you can choose whichever term suits you: I’m agnostic about the terminology). My purpose is to offer step-by-step advice about the thinking, methods, assumptions, and practical choices that go into redesigning a classroom inspired by equality, not oppression (to use Paolo Freire’s famous terminology). A pedagogy of equality aims to support and inspire the greatest possible student success, creativity, individuality, and achievement, rather than more traditional hierarchies organized around a priori standards of selectivity, credentialing, standardization, ranking, and the status quo. 
That, of course, is the most binaristic way of framing the redesigned student-centered classroom. However, in the real world in which most students live, if they are paying tuition, they also want something more concrete than a sense of their own learning: they want some formal, institutional recognition of the effort they have invested in their learning. (Otherwise, why not just learn from a friend or from a book or online?)

That is where contract grading and peer evaluation come in. To my mind, they are the most expansive alternatives to conventional grading while still offering the student a meaningful, documentable, responsible credentialed form of credit for learning attainments. 
And from Dave Cormier who has an excellent reference list at the end of his post:
You need to ACTUALLY be open to student control
The one thing that everyone seems to agree upon is that shaping the course for themselves is the critical element to contract grading. If you create a situation where the contract exists, but students get little or not input into how its carried out (say you set things up where choice is very robotic, or checkbox like) it will not work.
And my personal experience with learning contracts (with learner examples), which became learning pledges at a learner's suggestion.

From the BlendKit2017 Week 3 reading:
Authentic assessment—assessing student abilities to apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes to real world problems
Observations, presentations, videos that document learning
With feedback from global experts-- authors, historians, scientists
Collaboration with experts in the field-- gathering data
Presenting to professional meetings
Moving to collective action projects to make a difference
And leveraging the technology to collaborate, share
Examples from Michael Wesch




Lots to think on here; an excerpt below:
Characteristics of Assessment 2.0
The type of assessment activity best suited to the digital native would exhibit some or all of the following characteristics.

  • Authentic: involving real-world knowledge and skills.
  • Personalised: tailored to the knowledge, skills and interests of each student.
  • Negotiated: agreed between the learner and the teacher.
  • Problem oriented: original tasks requiring genuine problem solving skills. Socially constructed: using the student’s social networks.
  • Collaboratively produced: produced in partnership with fellow students.
  • Recognise existing skills: willing to accredit the student’s existing work.

And the type of evidence that best fits this type of assessment would be:

  • naturally occurring: already in existence or generated out of personal interest
  • digital: such as e-mail, instant message logs, blog posts, wiki contributions, audio and video recordings
  • multimedia: existing in text, audio and video format
  • distributed: may be scattered across various sources (such as web sites, blogs, inbox, iPod).

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT (last but so important)

"Powerpoint Slide: "The power of formative assessment"" flickr photo by Ken Whytock shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license
The 5 Formative Assessment strategies to improve learning
•1. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success – getting the students to really understand what their classroom experience will be and how their success will be measured.  

•2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, activities, and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning – developing effective classroom instructional strategies that allow for the measurement of success.  
•3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward – working with students to provide them the information they need to better understand problems and solutions.  
•4. Activating learners as instructional resources for one another – getting students involved with each other in discussions and working groups can help improve student learning.  
•5. Activating learners as owners of their own learning
Technology again, transforms the possibilities with Formative, Padlet, Tricider, and blog posts that ask learners to make their thinking visible
So many pieces to think on
To adopt the best lens for assessing learning
Always a puzzle picture in progress
Always room to make it better
Always seeking approaches that support learners in enhancing, deepening their own learning

To be continued-- this puzzle always needing additional pieces

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