New Ways to Help Our Kids Document Learning
Measuring Academic Progress series, Part 2 of 3
Parents can help children track their progress through alternative assessments. This is an effective way to help our children document their learning during these challenging times as well as when children do not attend a “brick and mortar” school during extended vacations. Alternative or authentic assessments rely on a foundation of learned knowledge and skills that learners integrate in their understanding and evidence of mastery. Alternative assessments ask the student to use what they have learned for a purpose rather than simply reiterating it.
Examples of Authentic Performances and Displays of Learning
PRODUCTS: Puzzles, games, timelines, simulations, primary research, experiments
WRITING/PUBLISHING: Scripts, stories, headlines, catalogs, press releases, marketing plan
ORIGINAL DESIGNS: Artwork, music, cartoons, book covers, illustrations, models, graphic designs
DEMONSTRATIONS/PRESENTATIONS: Show/explain how it works, teach another, simulation, lab experiment
PERSUASIONS: Debate, defense, advocacy, advice, editorial, soapbox, urge to action
MULTIMEDIA: Visual/auditory/digital products such as an infographic, video, storyboard, e-zine, newscast
How to Document Performance
Performances and displays require comparisons and alignment with the purposes of learning. For example, if you were learning to play tennis, the coach would watch your movements and make recommendations for improvement. If you were writing a press release or a summary, it would be fact-checked and assessed for organization and persuasiveness.
For more information, you can also order the newly released Student-Engaged Assessment book by Laura Greenstein and Mary Ann Burke with a 20% discount until 12/31/20 by using promo code RLEGEN20 from Roman and Littlefield at https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475857825/Student-Engaged-Assessment-Strategies-to-Empower-All-Learners.
May your children’s alternative assessment documentation reflect how they have accomplished progress towards specific goals or by achieving mastery of learning objectives.
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Laura Greenstein has been an educator for over 30 years serving as a teacher, department chair, and school leader in multiple grades and subjects. She combines this background with her experience as a school board member and professional development specialist to bring fresh and original ideas to educators about teaching, learning, and assessing. She consults with schools and districts and presents at workshops and conferences locally and nationally. As an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut and the University of New Haven, she teaches Human Development and Assessment to undergraduate and graduate students and more recently, Teaching, Learning, and Assessing with Technology in the 6th year Digital Literacy program. She has a B.S. from the University of Connecticut, an M.S. from the State University of New York at Oneonta in education, a 6th year from Sacred Heart University in administration, and an Ed.D. from Johnson and Wales University in Educational Leadership. Her website, http://www.assessmentnetwork.net, is a valuable source of information on issues and topics in assessment. She is the author of multiple books on assessment including What Teachers Really Need to Know About Formative Assessment, Assessing 21st Century Skills: A Guide to Evaluating Mastery and Authentic Learning, Restorative Assessment: Strength-Based Practices to Support all Learners, and Sticky Assessment: Classroom Strategies to Amplify Student Learning.