Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Transformational Assessment: The Mt. Everest Scenario Set Up-Brick and Mortar School--Part II

At the end of the last post, we were left with a question that asked how will students receive recognition for their solutions of real world problems or issues that results in meaningful feedback that speaks to assessment for learning. In other words the assessment leads to real growth along the students chosen path of learning. Keep in mind that one of the perennial complaints that students make is that what they are being asked to do doesn't have anything to do with the "real world". In other words, recognition of what they have done is restricted to the classroom, school and perhaps even the local or national media for a very short period in time. In other words, in a majority of cases what they create has no impact on the world outside of school. In fairness to educators, there are many who go above and beyond to make sure that their students gain outside recognition but they do not represent the majority.

What is needed is a means in which students receive real world recognition for real world proposals and solutions. Recognition needs to be meaningful and come from sources that are recognized by the students as real authorities in the disciplines they are making use of. To that end I would like to suggest to you something I call "dynamic rubrics".

Credit: Hakaider (
In the case of the use of rubrics in the past, they were used as tools for measurement of learning. they are what I would call "static rubrics" in that at the end of a learning experience, a rubric was used by the educator which would include comments as to strengths and weaknesses that were observed based on the rubric and then it ended there.

In the concept of "dynamic rubrics" I am suggesting that where the static rubric ends is really just a middle stage in that a dynamic rubric can include assessment for learning. This can happen by changing how the student is assessed and by whom.
If we are to emphasize the merit of cross discipline learning, then in the assessment of learning and assessment for learning we must reflect this point of view.

Credit: Hakaider(Electric

In the example of Mt. Everest, there are two main areas that we want to assess:
  • Online Collaborative Skills
  • Critical Thinking Skills
The rubrics for these two areas can be assessed by the educators with one essential difference. Since we are dealing with a problem that focuses on drawing from the disciplines that impact climbing, it would be a good idea to have a member of a discipline as part of the assessment team to offer comment on the merit of the students' solution. For example, a mountain climber could give his or her assessment of the student solution or it could be a human biologist giving the perspective of people dealing with human physiology or it could be the physicist commenting on the physics and mathematics perspective. These are people who represent the disciplines that have some impact on the solution to the problem.

Now, the obvious question is why should they offer to help in such a task? the answer is that the disciplines have a vested interest in such a process because what they are looking at are the seeds of their own prospective evolution. Upon gathering the input on the students' solution, it is time to take this a step further. The internet has many professional communities that are vibrant with good discussion. Have one of the professionals involved in the assessment sponsor the students' solution in their online community, give visitor status to the students so that they can answer questions about their solution. Within this there is the potential for growth in learning on both sides of the fence.
 The students see real world recognition for what they are proposing and the professionals see what could be in their future. The caveat here is that this is not something we could do right away in every instance. This involves a process of growth.

Next post deals with the total online experience and the amazing potential for such problems in this venue.......

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