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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Take a Deeper Look at Assessment for Understanding

Performance assessments go beyond traditional tests and serve as an important teaching tool.
By Roberta Furger
VIDEO: Assessment Overview: Beyond Standardized Testing
Every spring, millions of school-age children throughout the United States sharpen their No. 2 pencils and prepare to take a battery of standardized tests. It's a ritual that has come to represent the nation's commitment to high academic standards and school accountability.

Parents use test scores to gauge their children's academic strengths and weaknesses, communities rely on these scores to judge the quality of their teachers and administrators, and state and federal lawmakers use these scores to hold public schools accountable for providing the high-quality education every child deserves.

For many, these standardized tests -- and the countless other smaller tests that are commonplace in today's classrooms -- are what come to mind when they hear the term assessment. We look to the end-of-week spelling test, the end-of-quarter biology exam, even the high school exit exam, to tell us whether our children are developing the skills and learning the material they'll need to succeed both in and out of school.

But tests aren't the only way to gauge a student's knowledge and abilities, just as reciting formulas and memorizing the periodic table is not the only way to learn chemistry. Throughout the country, many educators are going beyond traditional tests and using performance assessments in their K-12 classrooms to gauge what students know and can do.

They're designing projects that require students to apply what they're learning to real-world tasks, like designing a school building or improving the water quality in a nearby pond. And they're giving students the experience, as assessment expert Grant Wiggins says, "of being tested the way historians, mathematicians, museum curators, scientists, and journalists are actually tested in the workplace."

In a classroom setting, performance assessment is an essential companion to project learning. By developing comprehensive rubrics by which to evaluate student performances, teachers ensure that projects are more than just fun and engaging activities. They're true tests of a student's abilities and knowledge, linked to standards, and documented so that everyone -- students, parents, and educators -- understands what is being assessed.

The "performance" can include a wide range of activities and assignments: from research papers that demonstrate how well students can evaluate sources and articulate an opinion to experiments or problems that enable a teacher to gauge a student's ability to apply specific math or science knowledge and skills. Some performance assessments consist of individual projects; others require groups of students to work together toward a common goal.

But whatever the project or problem, well-crafted performance assessments share a common purpose: to give students the chance to show what they know and can do and to provide teachers with the tools to assess these abilities.

Assessment in Action

Assessment is a way of life for the 120 students at New York City's Urban Academy: Every day, in every class, students are encouraged and expected to demonstrate what they're learning. In Constitutional Law, they're required to argue a case before a mock Supreme Court. In geometry, they must apply mathematical concepts to measuring the height and volume of buildings or the distance between South Ferry and Staten Island using the Statue of Liberty as a reference point.

And before they receive their high school diploma, students must complete separate performance assessments (known at the Urban Academy as academic proficiencies) that demonstrate their skills and knowledge in six academic areas: mathematics, social studies, science, creative arts, criticism, and literature.

At New York City's Urban Academy, students show what they know through a series of performance assessments, such as this mock trial in Constitutional Law class.

Credit: Edutopia

"It's a system of assessment, not a single instrument," says Ann Cook, the Urban Academy's codirector. "It's a system based on a number of components, it goes on all year long, and it culminates in certain kinds of tasks that demonstrate what students can do."

These tasks might include writing a play and having it performed in front of the entire school, reading and studying a piece of literature and then being able to engage in a thoughtful conversation about it, or designing and conducting an original science experiment. With each proficiency, students must be prepared to share their work with classmates, teachers, and outside experts, who routinely lend their real-world expertise to the Urban Academy's assessment process.

The Urban Academy and more than 30 other alternative high schools that are part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium have adopted these rigorous performance assessments as an alternative to the Regents Exams, which high school students throughout New York State are required to pass in English, math, history, and science in order to earn a diploma.

Although their procedures may vary, all consortium schools have adopted a system of assessment aligned to state standards and based on a series of well-defined rubrics, so both the student and the teacher clearly understand the criteria on which work is evaluated. The Performance Assessment Review Board, an external group of educators, test experts, researchers, and members of the business and legal communities, monitors the performance-assessment system and evaluates samples of student work.

The consortium, says Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommon Professor of Education at Stanford University, represents an attempt "to develop high-quality performance assessments that can be evaluated in a reliable way." Darling-Hammond, who has worked with the consortium for more than a decade, points to member schools' high college acceptance rate compared with that of all New York City schools (91 percent versus 62 percent) as a testament to their rigorous curriculum and assessment.

Applied Learning

Across the country, at Mountlake Terrace High School, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, geometry teacher Eeva Reeder began implementing performance-based assessments when she recognized a disturbing pattern among her students: They could pass a test with flying colors but had considerable difficulty transferring knowledge and skills from one unit to the next.

Students in Eeva Reeder's geometry class at Mountlake Terrace High School, near Seattle, spend six weeks applying their geometry skills to the challenge of designing a school for the year 2050.

Credit: Edutopia

Her response to this dilemma was to incorporate projects into her geometry class -- small-scale projects at the end of each unit of study, as well as a longer-term culminating project -- that require students to apply the abstract skills and formulas to real-world settings.

Completing a project, says Reeder, "is the true test of what you know. You can watch a show where Julia Child makes a soufflé, and you can read about soufflé making," she adds, but the real test is "making one yourself."

In Reeder's class, the true test of her students' geometry skills is an architectural challenge. In six weeks, students must design a high school that will meet the needs of students in 2050. Working in small teams, students are required to develop a site plan, create a scale model, prepare cost estimates, and write a formal proposal. They must also present their plan to their classmates and a group of architects who serve as mentors and judges throughout the project.

Assessment of the design projects occurs in several ways. At the beginning of the project, students are given the scoring rubric by which their work will be measured. Each part of the project is evaluated based on quality and accuracy, clarity and presentation, and concept. Reeder also evaluates teamwork (participation, level of involvement, quality of work as a team member) during the course of the project and at the end.

"There are two reasons for assessment," says Reeder. "One is to provide students feedback on the quality of their work and specifically on how they might improve that quality. The other is to assign a score or grade." Scoring is the easy part, she adds, and can be accomplished with the help of what she calls a "reasonably prepared" test.

"But you can't assess a student's deep understanding of a subject and their ability to apply a concept through a traditional paper-and-pencil, crank-out-the-formulas kind of assessment," says Reeder. "It has to be done with a performance assessment."

Assessing Student Growth

One common form of performance assessment is the development of a student portfolio -- a cumulative record of a student's work over time. It's a practice that's been used at the Key Learning Community, a K-12 school in Indianapolis, since the school first opened its doors in the fall of 1987.

Project learning and student presentation of work is an integral part of the Key Learning assessment program. Every semester, students select and research a project that corresponds to a schoolwide theme. These presentations are documented on videotape, and by the time a student completes eighth grade, he or she has a portfolio documenting as many as 25 projects.

In 1999, Key Learning opened its high school (beginning first with a single class of ninth graders), and with the older students came a move toward improved use of new technologies to capture student work. Now, students begin creating Apple iMovies in middle school and continue using the program throughout high school to document and present their work.

Student progress reports (there are no traditional report cards) are based on Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences and Ernest Boyer's theory of human commonalities.

Before earning their high school diploma, Key Learning seniors must document and demonstrate their applied knowledge in what Boyer identified as eight human commonalities. Among these are the shared use of symbols (through the creation of a major multimedia presentation), shared production and consumption (through a project on marketing and economics), and the shared sense of time and space (through a project on the history of Indianapolis or the contributions of an ethnic group to the development of the city).

As the school's eleventh graders gear up for the college application process, Key Learning is investigating ways to create smaller but representative portfolios of student work on CD-ROMs, which will be made available to college admissions departments.

Time Well Spent

Despite their many differences, these three schools share a common commitment to developing a project-rich curriculum supported and influenced by a thoughtful system of assessment. Teachers, students, and parents all understand that the most effective assessment doesn't happen at the end of a unit. It's woven throughout lessons and projects, often so seamlessly as to be indistinguishable from everyday teaching and learning.

Research papers at the Urban Academy go through multiple revisions before students and teachers alike consider them complete.

Credit: Edutopia

Without question, these high-quality performance assessments take time. The typical research paper at the Urban Academy, for example, will go through multiple revisions before the student and his or her teacher consider it complete. With each revision comes a discussion about key issues to be addressed, questions yet to be answered, and concepts that require further development.

A single proficiency might take a semester or even an entire year for a student to complete and might involve hours and hours of discussions with Urban Academy teachers and an outside evaluator. At Mountlake Terrace, Eeva Reeder spends many hours on just the logistics of her six-week-long architecture project, such as organizing field trips to local architects' office and coordinating classroom activities with the mentors' busy work schedules.

"Performance assessments do engage people in work and time. Students have to develop the performances. The teachers have to evaluate them," acknowledges Stanford's Linda Darling-Hammond. But, she emphasizes, "the time is not lost to teaching and learning. The time is teaching and learning, because the actual conduct of the assessment is a learning experience for students as well as teachers. It informs teaching. It gives teachers immediate feedback about what they need to do to meet a student's needs."

And with that immediate feedback comes the ability to intervene, to change course when assessments show that a particular lesson or strategy isn't working for a student, or to offer new challenges for students who've mastered a concept or skill. In this context, says performance-assessment researcher Karen Sheingold, assessment and learning become "two sides of the same coin" rather than separate and distinct activities.

Assessment Versus Accountability

In many U.S. classrooms and schools, assessment practices aren't just about improving teaching and learning for individual students. They're inextricably bound to the public's demand for greater accountability. All 50 states administer annual assessments to their students, the results of which can determine whether a student is promoted or retained and whether teachers get bonuses or a school gets reconstituted.

Although multiple choice and short-answer tests are still the norm, states are gradually incorporating performance-based assessments into their standardized tests.

Credit: Edutopia

These tests, because of their high stakes, have an incredible influence on classroom practices. For example, nearly 70 percent of the teachers responding to a 2000 Education Week survey on standards and accountability said that state assessments were "forcing them to concentrate too much on what's tested, to the detriment of other important areas of learning." The teachers reported dropping longer units with rich assessment components in favor of more traditional lessons that reflected the type of material and format common in most state assessments.

Few would argue with the need, as Hugh Price, president of the National Urban League, says, to "know whether or not children are learning, and whether they're performing on grade level or better or way below." But when the stakes are too high, this laudable goal gets distorted. Teachers begin teaching to the test to raise scores, often at the expense of more meaningful learning activities. And when the tests are too narrow a measure or aren't properly aligned to standards, they provide little concrete information teachers and schools can use to improve teaching and learning for individual students.

Although most states continue to use multiple-choice and short-answer items on their standardized tests, a handful of states have incorporated additional measures into their annual assessments. The Maryland School Performance Assessment Program for example, is frequently commended for the thoughtful way in which it calls on students to demonstrate multiple abilities in answering a single question or problem. (See Bruce Alberts's Edutopia.org article "Appropriate Assessments for Reinvigorating Science Education.")

In addition, Kentucky and Vermont have incorporated portfolios into their statewide assessments of student achievement -- another effort to offer a broader picture of student achievement, and the now-defunct Massachusetts Reform Review Commission convened representatives from various stakeholder groups to devise a strategy for expanding the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System to make it fairer and more comprehensive.

These additions are important and necessary, says Chris Dede, a professor of education at Harvard University, in order to really understand what students know and can do. "The current reform movement is based on first-generation standards and first-generation assessments for accountability," says Dede. "And while standards and accountability are good," he adds, "the first generation is flawed. Instead of multiple indicators of what students know, we end up with a single test score that somehow is supposed to capture everything that's inside of a student's head."

Dede likens state assessments to an annual visit to the doctor and suggests that we need more, not less, information to gauge a student's knowledge and abilities.

"When I go to a doctor for a physical, it's an indicator of overall wellness," he says. "I don't just want to know about my blood pressure. I want to know about my cholesterol level and a variety of other indicators. Somebody's educational well-being is more complicated than their physical health."In our second generation's standards, we need deeper focus on fewer skills that are central to the 21st century," he adds. "And in our second-generation assessments, we need broader measures, multiple measures that look at the different kinds of things that students have learned and have mastered."

Roberta Furger is a contributing writer for Edutopia.

Comments (123)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

DeeAnneAnonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Check out innovativelearning.ca, 21st century learners, CTS for ideas on formative assessment I would like to know what you think.
DeeAnne

ellison miller's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This information would have made doing National Boards much easier! Your information share is AWESOME!

Doug Fledderjohn's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

When I have students perform a lab in my chemistry class, it is a performance evaluation. We have studied the theoretical aspects of the subject and now "prove" we understand the information implimenting a real situation to a theoretical idea. My example would be to produce a chemical reaction that makes a gas, and have students calculate and measure the actual volume of the gas and the theoretical volume of the gas. This is a performance evaluation and has been going on in Chemistry classes forever. We just use a new name for it.

David Talton's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Our daughter is allowed to take an assessment test once (e.g. math), and then re-do problems that were marked incorrect. Her test score is then the average of the two grades. Our school district claims this is now a 'best practice' in teaching, but has provided no research to back this up.

Can anyone comment on this technique for upper-elementary grades (5th & 6th)?

I'm not talking about standardized tests such as the Pennsylvania PSSA. These are regular classroom tests.

Veronica's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Having "high expectations" is an attribute that has been linked with effective teachers in many scholarly works. Expecting or demanding students to achieve a minimum grade, and not the usual lowest acceptable grade for passing (65) or less, is an example of displaying this attribute. By affording students an opportunity to improve on their grades, teachers hope that student will take a more hands on approach to their learning. Instilling a desire to improve and learn, providing opportunities to seek help, and getting a second chance can be positive trade-offs to retesting. Though students are given a second chance, it is not necessarily the "easy way out" because it does involve more work. The hope is that students will transfer the desire to improve, learn, and seek help before assessments instead of after. I believe this is a win-win situation that will have a more positive impact than a student failing. I will be implementing this practice in my classes too and comparing these results to pasts one.

Lynne Thompson's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am a teacher in New Mexico and my school is in that dreaded R2 status or if you are unfamiliar with that term we are a school "in need of improvement" for the third straight year. After reading this article about performance based assessments I realize that what we are doing to our students with the integration of NCLB is such a disservice not only to the students but to the teachers as well. Using performance-based assessments just makes sense and I can see the need to have students not only be able to read and answer questions, but also to be able to demonstrate their new found knowledge. I was getting ready to read "The Watson's go to Birmingham" to my students and I knew that there would be vocabulary that they would be unfamiliar with. I put together a hand out and they had to use the computers to research the terms, this project lasted a whole 15 minutes before one of my students came out and said "Ms. can't we just do a poster project?" I was floored by that comment and the very next day my kids were divided up into groups and given a topic from the Civil Rights movement and I was beside myself with how they each participated, did the research, and presented their posters. Did I mention that these were special education students?

Laura Hafer's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am currently a student working towards my teacher license and M.Ed. Although I have heard, read, and discussed in class what "teaching to the test" means, I do not know first hand what that is like. From what I have gathered it is a common frustration for educators today. I guess what I don't understand is since standardized tests are in alignment with state standards, then isn't "teaching to the test" the same as teaching to the standards which is what we are supposed to be doing anyway? Furthermore, how come "teaching to the test" can't be fun with the integration of the arts? I know, before anyone begins to respond back, the time issue is a critical factor. But, if teachers are effective in their time management skills and teaching strategies, can't it be done or am I'm being naive?
As far as performance assessments, I am a supporter of the idea. I attend a University in Ohio and it is strictly performanced based. No tests are administered in the program. Instead, each student has a narrative completed by the instructors at the end of each term. Students are evaluated on individual or group projects, class participation, homework assignments, discussion forums, etc. Rubrics are provided for each major project so the students and the teacher knows the expectations. I love this strategy about the University. I am one of those students who has to memorize a book in order to pass a test. Once the test is over, I am unable to transfer the skills on to new units just like the students in Eeva Reeder's class at Mountlake Terrace High School. Because the University uses performance based assessments for seeing what students know and can do, I feel like I am learning about pertinent information instead of memorizing for a test. Don't get me wrong, I think this method of project base learning takes a considerable amount of time for both the students and the teachers, which unfortunately might discourage some teachers from implementing this method. I am constantly doing school work and this "hands on" learning requires alot of time and effort. However, the benefit is that I am being forced to acquire conceptual knowledge instead of rote memorization. Although I support performance based assessment, I have discovered some disadvantages. First, as I just mentioned, it takes a lot of time in order to successfully complete projects. Second, some of the rubrics used might as well be in Spanish because I don't understand some of the terminology or concepts. Third, I hope I am getting the necessary knowledge in order to pass the Praxis Exam which is the state of Ohio's "standardized test" for hopeful teachers. It's funny, does standardized testing ever stop? The same arguements that apply to the debate of standardized tests applies to the Praxis Exam for me. I agree with the graduate student at the University of Detroit Mercy when she said that her education focused on passing national boards. I feel the same way. I absolutely 100% disagree that along with standardized tests, the test is timed. The time factor alone can make students nervous thus hindering their performance. I know I said I am learning a lot of pertinent information, but is it information that I can apply to the exam in order to pass? Remember, I am the student whose learning style before now consisted of rote memorization. Learning and comprehending new concepts is new to me. Fortunately, the University has a very high success rate (90th percentile) of students passing. I love the fact that at the Urban Academy in New York City, a panel of external experts is involved in the assessment process. That is of great value and exposure for students to carry with them in their future endeavors. I also feel that performance assessment is a more inclusive method for students with special needs and English Language Learners. They are able to participate alongside fellow students that may have something to offer them or vice versa.
I wonder whether performace based assessment can be done by an individual teacher or does the whole school have to adopt this method? With so much pressure of "teaching to the test," would a school district allow a teacher to not have tests and use project based learning instead as a means of comprehension. I know for the Urban Academy, it sounded like the whole institute implemented the performance method. However, at Mountlake Terrace, it seemed as if it were up to the individual teachers which assessment strategies they used.

As a teacher, I will definitley implement some measures of performance assessment because I think it is so valuable for the student's learning and comprehension.

Megan Knight's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

What an excellent article. I am currently a High School Family and Consumer Science teacher (yes, this is the new name for Home Economics!) at a public school in Ohio. One of the classes I teach is Healthy Living. In this class, my students learn about the dietary guidelines and nutrients which are needed for managing a healthy lifestyle. Our department really focuses on providing hands-on, real-life experiences. Many of our students choose to take our classes because they want to be involved in hands-on learning, which can be applied to their lives. The students are taught about particular topics such as increasing fiber into the diet, through a variety of teaching methods. They then apply the knowledge and skills they have gained by participating authentic foods labs, mini projects, and presentations.

Along with teaching, I am also in the process of working on a Master's Degree at the same University as Laura, who posted a response earlier. Our current class is on Assessment and Differentiated instruction. There have been many comments, questions, and concerns from classmates on the use of standardized tests, mostly if not all, disagreeing with this requirement. I think this is such a controversial topic because I think most teachers believe in and want to use other methods of assessment but how is the question. When you are required by your district and the state to use standardized testing, how do you incorporate another assessment, especially one which is extremely time consuming? As a teacher of elective courses, I have never had to "teach to the test" and have ultimately had the freedom to engage my student any way I would like, until this year. The state department came out with new standards for our classes. They completely changed the names of our courses, and created standards with a more "academic focus". I feel the state has created a "double-edged sword" for Family and Consumer Science courses. Their reason for a more "academic focus" is to get us more recognition for what we do, but at the same time, they are taking away the ability for us to keep the hands-on learning which is the reason our students enjoy and take our courses. In addition, they have created end of semester exams for our students to take. Although these exams have not yet been 100% required, I now am feeling more pressure to "teach to the test".

I think what the New York City's Urban Academy is doing is excellent. They are engaging not only the students, but teachers, experts, and the community are engaged and learning through the process as well. I agree 100% with the statement from Chris Dede saying, "the first generation is flawed. Instead of multiple indicators of what students know, we end up with a single test score that somehow is supposed to capture everything that's inside of a student's head." How can one test score determine EVERYTHING someone knows? There is too much bias, subjectiveness, and human error. As a high school student, I was the one who was really nervous for the ACT. I scored low to average (20). I ended up graduating from college having been a part of Honor's Societies and graduating with a 3.6 Cum Laude status. For the ACT score to be a major contributor as to whether I could further my education and be of college material, is extremely questionable to me. To think now Ohio plans to require the ACT to taken during High School in a few years? We are just moving farther and farther from what this article is raving about. The good news is, there are schools who get the picture and how found ways to successfully teach, learn, and assess all at the same time.

Megan Knight's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

What an excellent article. I am currently a High School Family and Consumer Science teacher (yes, this is the new name for Home Economics!) at a public school in Ohio. One of the classes I teach is Healthy Living. In this class, my students learn about the dietary guidelines and nutrients which are needed for managing a healthy lifestyle. Our department really focuses on providing hands-on, real-life experiences. Many of our students choose to take our classes because they want to be involved in hands-on learning, which can be applied to their lives. The students are taught about particular topics such as increasing fiber into the diet, through a variety of teaching methods. They then apply the knowledge and skills they have gained by participating authentic foods labs, mini projects, and presentations.

Along with teaching, I am also in the process of working on a Master's Degree at the same University as Laura, who posted a response earlier. Our current class is on Assessment and Differentiated instruction. There have been many comments, questions, and concerns from classmates on the use of standardized tests, mostly if not all, disagreeing with this requirement. I think this is such a controversial topic because I think most teachers believe in and want to use other methods of assessment but how is the question. When you are required by your district and the state to use standardized testing, how do you incorporate another assessment, especially one which is extremely time consuming? As a teacher of elective courses, I have never had to "teach to the test" and have ultimately had the freedom to engage my student any way I would like, until this year. The state department came out with new standards for our classes. They completely changed the names of our courses, and created standards with a more "academic focus". I feel the state has created a "double-edged sword" for Family and Consumer Science courses. Their reason for a more "academic focus" is to get us more recognition for what we do, but at the same time, they are taking away the ability for us to keep the hands-on learning which is the reason our students enjoy and take our courses. In addition, they have created end of semester exams for our students to take. Although these exams have not yet been 100% required, I now am feeling more pressure to "teach to the test".

I think what the New York City's Urban Academy is doing is excellent. They are engaging not only the students, but teachers, experts, and the community are engaged and learning through the process as well. I agree 100% with the statement from Chris Dede saying, "the first generation is flawed. Instead of multiple indicators of what students know, we end up with a single test score that somehow is supposed to capture everything that's inside of a student's head." How can one test score determine EVERYTHING someone knows? There is too much bias, subjectiveness, and human error. As a high school student, I was the one who was really nervous for the ACT. I scored low to average (20). I ended up graduating from college having been a part of Honor's Societies and graduating with a 3.6 Cum Laude status. For the ACT score to be a major contributor as to whether I could further my education and be of college material, is extremely questionable to me. To think now Ohio plans to require the ACT to taken during High School in a few years? We are just moving farther and farther from what this article is raving about. The good news is, there are schools such as those mentioned above who are proving it is possible to teach, learn, and assess all at the same time.

Kevin Johnson's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

A very impressive article on Authentic (Performance) Assessment. Educators, parents, and students alike have all become too familiar with the ritual of standardized testing. I too am an Early Childhood Education teacher candidate from Antioch University McGregor and am currently taking an Assessment course along with Megan and Laura. "Performance," "real-world," "teamwork," "projects," "rubric," and "portfolio" are but a few terms which stood out in my mind and appeared several times throughout the article. I am convinced that alternative assessment methods beyond traditional ones are a starting point in preparing students for real world tasks and projects.

Between 6th and 12th grade my memory is engraved with having been administered some form of achievement or standardized tests, including practice tests for those tests! In high school the closest performance based assessments were those offered in block class programs such as Environmental Management or Radio and Advertising. Although these classes had traditional paper and pencil tests, students were also assessed by performance and through projects. Feedback allowed students to improve and repeat tasks to where they would be assessed on performance throughout the course.

The article also noted that, "well crafted performance assessments share a common purpose: to give students the chance to show what they know and can do and to provide teachers with the tools to assess these abilities. Eeva Reeder's class presented a great project idea in teaching and assessing geometry. Another idea, at a primary level, might be to have your first grade class design and build a butterfly garden using geometrical shapes in relationship to a geometry unit. Any idea can be modified to a specific grade level. Think back to any science experiments you have done throughout school. There is a great chance that they were applicable to the real world. There is a learning process that each student goes through from start to finish.

Comment concerning video:

I thought it was interesting how the video noted, "Critics of performance based assessment worry that if students are free to pursue projects of their choice, standards will suffer. But some assessment experts say that independent study projects should meet the highest standards" (Narrator). We need to realize that if we give a child the choice in designing or choosing a project, it will most likely fit within a context of some objectives, standards, and criteria that will lead to evidence of their learning experience. Traditional assessment (standardized, multiple choice, knowledge cramming) has its pros and cons while authentic project based assessment offers another alternative.

I like the idea of an external assessor for literacy. If time and resources are possible then I believe this assessment would have positive results in and out of the classroom. By interpreting the text and answering questions from the assessor, the child can really show and explain what they have learned in depth.

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