Demonstrations of Learning – Changing Summative Assessment

My previous blog post highlighted the reflections of a student at Rick Hansen Secondary School in Aviation 12 who gave a compelling reflection of her learning in Mr. Newton’s Physics class.  I was struck by the final assessment given for the course.  I mean how else could you assess an aviation course other that to fly a plane?  Easier said than done?   Here is the description of her final exam:  For our final exam, using our flight plan we had to fly from Abbotsford Airport (CYXX) to Nanaimo (CYCD) in a Cessna 172 simulator. Going into the exam, I was nervous and fearful of not preparing myself enough.  However, the course itself had prepared me for this exam without even me realizing it. The exam was not based on “book-knowledge” although it may be helpful to some extent, but it encouraged you to use your natural ability to fly and common sense to put it simply.

Increasingly, teachers in Abbotsford  are are stepping away from their know worlds – the comfort and safety of paper and pencil examinations.  (I do not oppose the rigour of well constructed exams by the way) Many teachers in traditionally academic content subject areas are having students demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways beyond the crunching of the Scantron machine.  Our superintendent, Kevin Godden has recently posted a two part blog on assessment, and he, too, challenges educators to “allow ourselves to step out of that cozy space for a moment, (so that) we may see the benefits of assessing and reporting in such a way that is most advantageous for the learner.”

I came across yet another great example of a secondary teacher who has applied her assessment literacy to enhance the summative assessment process.  In a recent tweet, Sarah Bacon, senior science teacher at Robert Bateman Secondary School (@Rockteacher50), posts the reflections of a senior student in the Sustainable Studies class.  Considering the many options Ms. Bacon has to gather evidence of student learning, I think you will agree that this video clip is a compelling artifact of this student’s deep learning.

What are the benefits of assessing students in this manner?  I would love to hear your stories.

Thank you Abbotsford educators for moving ahead in our exploration of compelling assessment practices that engage learners.

This entry was posted in 21st Century Learning, Assessment, Best Practice, Personalizing High School, Teaching and Learning. Bookmark the permalink.

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