The ultimate goal of the CMS assessment design project in CEP 813 is to create an assessment in a content management system that supports and enhances students’ learning. I decided to use Haiku Learning for my assessment design because it is an effective, efficient, useful, and useable platform, making it an obvious choice for administering diverse assessments to secondary mathematics students. Specifically, Haiku Learning is easy to navigate and use and it offers various tools and supports that can be used for formatively or summatively assessing students’ proficiency regarding specific learning goals. These features include discussion forums, collaborative workspaces, polls, rubrics, surveys, learning portfolios, Dropbox for submissions, and various quizzing/testing options. Haiku Learning also has grade book built into the site that allows instructors to link assessments and rubrics to grade book submissions, making it not only a great platform to teach learn and assess but also to communicate progress and proficiency accurately and in a timely manner to both parents and students.
The Pythagorean theorem is one of the main topics covered in an 8th grade mathematics geometry unit, and it is also a standard students will be expected to further develop in both high school geometry and trigonometry. Furthermore, the Pythagorean Theorem is commonly present on standardized assessments such as the M-Step and ACT, and in the ever changing world of standardized assessments, the Pythagorean Theorem and its applications have withstood the test of time, making it a key standard for secondary math learners. So, for this task, I designed and implemented three different types of assessments on Haiku Learning, each eliciting different forms of feedback, as a way to measure whether my 8th grade math students have reached the desired learning outcomes at the end of the first lesson in the Pythagorean theorem unit. The lesson and assessments I created are aligned with Common Core State Standards for 8th Grade Geometry and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice.
Specifically, using a content management system, my goal was to design and implement assessments that reveal what and how students are learning in time for modifications to be made to instruction; that allow me to assess broader ranges of skills and abilities in addition to content recall; and that redefine students’ role in the assessment process, making the assessment itself a more engaging learning experience. To do so, I included both traditional assessment measures and nontraditional assessment measures as a way to balance and assess a broader range of skills and abilities. The three assessments, when taken together, allow me to inform teaching and learning in different capacities and from different perspectives. The first assessment, traditional in design, measures math computation skills providing direct and immediate feedback. In addition to the first assessment, I designed two non-traditional performance tasks. The first performance tasks allows learners to demonstrate what they know in a collaborative work space by transferring their mathematical knowledge to real world scenarios & the second performance task allows learners to self-evaluate as they make connections between mathematical and visual representations of the content and then reflect on the process, making revisions and improvements along the way.
These three different assessment tasks are designed to give all learners the opportunity to show they have mastered the skills in the first lesson. By differentiating the instruction and assessments, I believe I will be able to more accurately gauge what students truly know in addition to possible misconceptions. Namely, the results from a multiple-choice test provide much different information on learners’ understanding than the evidence revealed through reflective posts or performance tasks. Diverse assessment opportunities provide diverse insights on student learning; and, because the assessment tools and strategies are formative, the information gathered from them should immediately inform and modify instruction and learning. Through this process, students will receive feedback regularly from their peers and me. For example, information gathered from the multiple choice assessment will reveal trends in data, which can be used to help the instructor evaluate the effectiveness of their own instruction while helping them make informed decisions about future lessons. By implementing a quiz assessing isolated skills, such as computation, students are able to use the immediate feedback and quiz score to identify specific areas of weakness and respond accordingly. They should then accommodate their study habits based on their performance scores so they can make improvements by the time they reach the unit summative assessment. Moreover, while the multiple choice assessment allows me to check my students’ computation and retention skills, the metacognitive problem writing performance task and the reflective proof re-creation assessments allow me to assess transfer, or each learners ability to apply their learning to new scenarios, in addition to each learners ability to consolidate and connect new learning with old. They are designed to extend beyond computation and stimulate collaboration and reflection. The performance tasks allow me to assess learners understanding on an individual level and within a community. Through differentiated assessments learners are receiving feedback from multiple sources and are making adjustments in their learning as they progress, which ultimately leads to personal growth. In fact, learners will not only grow by completing the assessment tasks, they will also grow by reading and providing feedback to their classmates (peer-assessment) and reflecting on the process (self-assessment). Through this process, by providing multiple different methods of assessment in each lesson, I hope that learners are appropriately challenged and stimulated and if they aren’t that the data collected from the various assessments informs my instruction and allows me to make changes.
The assessment tools, approaches, and strategies outlined in my screencast and this blog post provide a more cohesive, accurate representation of learners’ proficiency because I have taken into account multiple measures of achievement (three differentiated assessments measuring computation, performance, and consolidation) and have relied on multiple sources of evidence (differentiated feedback in relation to the assessment type). Through the described formative assessments, as I become aware of my students’ needs, abilities, strengths and weaknesses, I will be better positioned to modify my instructional strategies and content focus to help maximize student learning and improve achievement.
Check out the screencast describing these assessments here: CMS SCREENCAST LINK
For a more detailed account of each of the three assessments I designed on my CMS (including an explanation of the assessment tools I used on Haiku and the feedback methods & approaches) continue reading below.
- For the first assessment, I used the built in assessment creation tool in Haiku Learning to build a multiple-choice assessment focusing on mastery of isolated computation and application skills. This assessment tool can be used to identify possible misunderstandings and misconceptions to both the teacher and learner as the data collected provides a snapshot of where each learner is in terms of the goals and standards in relation to the overall learning continuum. That is, this particular assessment tool on Haiku learning reports feedback immediately to all parties (students, teacher, & parents via grade book), which allows the instructor to identify strengths and weaknesses individually and holistically and then use those findings to modify instruction and devise appropriate strategies to close/minimize the achievement gap. In addition to the automatic feedback, the built in assessment tool is equipped with an equation editor, making it both a useful and useable tool for math students. Also, in terms of the automatic feedback, all assessments created on Haiku Learning, regardless of their design, can be linked to the grade book tool. While the automatic feedback informs teaching and learning in real-time, the grade book tool, organized by assessment, skill or standard, creates a log of student achievement revealing not only proficiency levels but also progress by charting growth over multiple assessments.
- For the second assessment, students will go on to become problem writers posting three real-world questions involving the Pythagorean Theorem, their solutions and work for each of the problems, and a thorough explanation- using appropriate vocabulary- as to why their contexts and solutions make sense realistically and mathematically to a class discussion forum. Then, learners will go on to review and respond to at least three of their classmates’ posts. This assessment approach extends beyond assessing specific skills, such as computation, and measures whether learners can synthesize their knowledge and transfer it to real-world situations. In addition to measuring the learners’ ability to synthesize and transfer knowledge, this formative assessment fosters peer-to-peer collaboration, giving students a key role in the evaluation process. During peer-assessment students become the evaluator and offer feedback and support to help improve their classmate’s work/learning. Not only do collaborative assessments provide real-time feedback from various perspectives as a way to inform and improve learning, they also allow for interactions that blur the teacher-learner roles, which in turn motivates learners to take control of their learning. Moreover, having linked a rubric to this problem writing assessment, utilizing yet another impressive tool on Haiku Learning, learners will be fully aware of their expectations in relation to the learning goals and will consequently be able to provide meaningful, informative feedback to their peers based on those expectations. Students will then self-assess based on the feedback they have received, making adjustments in their work and improving learning. Then, the instructor will use the linked rubric to assess the entire performance task: the development of the problems, the computation, the feedback, the revisions, etc. As a tool to measure student learning, the rubric will allow the instructor to measure multiple dimensions of learning rather than just content knowledge and will provide a more detailed account of the students’ abilities rather than just a score.
- The third and last assessment requires that learners recreate a visual representation of the Pythagorean Theorem proof. In doing so, they will be required to reflect on their learning and creation as it develops, making connections to prior knowledge, such as the real number system, and interpreting associated implications. This formative assessment task stimulates self-reflection providing valuable feedback to both the learner and teacher, which can then be used to inform the teaching and learning processes. That is, the reflective account documents the learning process and makes learners’ thinking visible, revealing misconceptions, revisions, & improvements. Additionally, due to the flexibility in design, the instructor can provide one-on-one feedback through commentary or by posing effective questions along the way. Based on my feedback and questions, learners are able to modify and edit their posts and assignments. The dialogue created through feedback informs teaching and learning and allows the instructor to modify and adapt instruction to best meet the needs and thought processes of each learner.