Are Your Students Learning and Developing Skills Through Their Assessments? They Should be.
I often find the annual Higher Education Horizons report from EDUCAUSE and NMC to be inspiring, and while reading the 2017 edition that came out last month, one particular idea came to mind and I ran with it.
One of my very favorite things to do when it comes to creating course content, lessons, etc., is to build rich assessments. I think a good assessment should give students the opportunity to make some choices (to help enhance their ownership of learning) — choices about the assignment's content, and about how to demonstrate their learning, for example. Even if you are teaching courses with standardized tests, there are probably more opportunities to do this than might first occur to you. I believe that incorporating choice in learning is one of various often overlooked techniques that can make the difference between a so-so educational experience for your students and great one (Larry Ferlazzo has written a lot about this).
The Horizons report encouraged me to think about other things that can help make assessments more meaningful, and indeed, even enjoyable for students: make them inquiry based, and connect them to the real world; let students collaborate; and look for opportunities to incorporate entrepreneurial skills and digital literacy skills.
The next thing I knew, I was developing a rubric that could be used to help build, enhance, and/or assess assessments, with the goal of creating rich, rewarding “21st century” assessments (I'm not really a big fan of that term, but it's still one of the best ways I know quickly infer modern/current and bring to mind vital skills like collaboration and creativity).
So, here it is, my first shot at the “Awesome 21st Century Skills Assessment” Rubric! I hope readers will give me some feedback, critique, and ideas for evolving this. In the meanwhile, feel free to use it yourself, and pass it on! I hope you find it useful.
Below is the assessment in the form of two images. Here it is as a PDF.