Sunday, May 27, 2012

Assessments of Wiggle Worms

It is really easy to forget that the definition of the word assessment really does not say that a formal "test" with paper and pencil is required.  Even educationally related definitions of the word simply state that is an evaluation of a student's achievement on a course. 

There are many way's to evaluate a child's understanding of material that has been covered in lessons or activities over their course of study.  While testing skills do become important, not every assessment of a child's abilities or understanding needs to be administered in a way that requires sitting still and writing it all down.  Such forms of assessment require reading and writing skills that may not actually be related to the objectives of the assessment and therefore may not give the most genuine idea of the student's abilities anyway.

Dramatic Assessment: 
Why not have your child "act out" their understanding?  Is she or he supposed to show that he or she followed and understood the main ideas and chronology of a story you just finished reading?  Show an understanding of the main events that led to a culminating event in history and the main characters involved in those events?  Is it a scientific cycle that is supposed to have been understood?  Have your child design appropriate costumes, puppets, or felt characters and act out the main events while narrating the story or cycle instead of having to write about it, or answer a bunch of questions about it.  Don't forget about the option of using Dance as a form of expression in this type of assessment as well.  Have your child explaining what the movements represent as he or she dances them.

Conduct an Interview:
Record an interview in which your child acts as one of the main characters in the historical event or story, or as a scientist explaining an important cycle to the general populace (maybe they'd like to imagine themselves a bit like Bill Nye) and you are the reporter.  Ask open-ended questions and see what answers you will get, they will be far more telling in regard to what your child has actually understood than any old multiple choice test would be.

Allow your child to Illustrate:
Perhaps your child would like to write and illustrate a children's book on the subject, or simply make a chart or poster that depicts the information or concepts about which you need to assess understanding.  Many schools have children build dioramas or other types of crafts to depict famous scenes or groups of people.

Sing Lyrics and Play Music:
Maybe you have a budding musician in your household.  Let him or her sing lyrics to you about the subject.  Perhaps the tune will even work to convey ideas.  In a song about the water cycle, maybe the music sounds whispy during the part about evaporation, but plincks and drips when the rain begins falling during precipitation and then floats when the precipitation becomes colder and the precipitation becomes snow.

Whatever you decide to do, mix it up and use different assessment styles at least some of the time.  Traditional paper and pencil assessments have their place, but are not the beginning and end of all evaluation.  Just make sure that whatever type of assessment you'll be using, your child knows exactly what it is that is supposed to be demonstrated up front and ahead of time.

1 comment:

Debbie Diaz said...

Wow, I really enjoy your blogs! Thank you! Love the Balance is Best philosophy too! :) You´re great!

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