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Transcript of Alternative Assessment
What are Alternative Assessments?
Alternative assessments, also referred to as performance tests or authentic assessments, measure students' understanding of complex tasks that are directly associated with learning outcomes. They differ from traditional assessments in that they give students the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and receive meaningful feedback ("Using alternative assessments").
Assessing Student Understanding
"The ability of alternative assessment to empower students depends on how well it is understood by students" (Tan, 2012, p.3).
Keys to Student Understanding
What is the purpose of using alternative assessment?
What do alternative assessments include?
Alternative assessment is an "umbrella" term for a variety of nontraditional assessment methods such as open-ended or extended response exercises, classroom observations, portfolios, performances demonstrations, essays, hands-on activities, group projects, etc. (Austin Lee, Sun Park, & Choi, 2012).
for Constructing Alternative Assessments
1) Define the instructional outcome you want to assess as clearly as possible in terms of subject-matter content and skills.
2) Distinguish between outcomes that can validly be assessed by performance assessments and objective measures.
3) Create tasks that elicit evidence of the student's ability to perform the
4) Decide what kinds of teacher guidance can be used while still allowing students freedom to learn and do it their own way.
5) Try out the assessment and make revisions as necessary.
Alternative Assessment Task Example
S3L2. Students will recognize the effects of pollution and humans on the environment.
Students will create a brochure that will inform readers about different types of pollution, the negative effects of it, and ways to prevent it. The brochure will also include reasons to conserve resources and give examples of ways to do so (Ex. recycling). The teacher will grade the brochure using a rubric to assess creativity, neatness, and quality of information.
Assessment is based on authentic tasks that demonstrate learners' ability to accomplish goals
Instructor and learners focus on communication, not on right or wrong answers
Learners help to set the criteria for successful completion of communication tasks
Learners have opportunities to assess themselves and their peers ("Assessing learning")
Provide a means of assessing valued skills that cannot be directly assessed with traditional tests
Provide more realistic setting for student performance
Focus on quality of work rather than rote memorization skills
They can be easily aligned with established learning outcomes ("Using alternative assessments")
Process can be costly in terms of time, effort, and materials
Rating process is more subjective than traditional tests and can be difficult to assign specific grades (Dikili, 2003)
Unclear definitions and inconsistent policies regarding implementation can lead to confusion (Austin Lee, Sun Park, & Choi, 2012)
Gardner's Multiple Intelligences
Alternative assessments help teachers gain a better understanding of student learning by determining what they can and cannot do ("Using alternative assessments").
Looking at a student product rather than scores allows the teacher to get further insight into students' knowledge and skills (Dikli, 2003).
"Alternative assessment emphasizes higher-order thinking skills, judgement, collaboration and active learning by embedding the assessment inside as well outside classrooms"
(Austin Lee, Sun Park, & Choi, 2012, p.12)
Assessments are aligned to real-world contexts where learners have the opportunity to practice skills that will be valuable to them in the future (Dikli, 2003).
Examples of Possible Products
Write lyrics to a familiar tune
Design a web page
Make a flowchart
Create a concept map/web
Make a brochure
Write a story
Create a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation
Make a diorama
Write a play and act it out
Record a video
Construct a mobile
Write an essay
Make a collage
Design a poster
Give a speech
Write a poem
Perform a news broadcast
Checklists are often used to keep track of a student's progress over time or to determine whether they have met established criteria on a task.
They can be useful for classroom assessment because they are easy to construct and use, and they align closely with tasks ("Assessing learning").
Rubrics provide a way to measure performance quality based on an established set of criteria that align with the goal of instruction.
There are four main types of rubrics:
Alternative assessment. (n.d.). http://www.teach-nology.com/currenttrends/alternative_assessment/
Assessing learning: alternative assessment. NCLRC (2004). http://www.nclrc.org/essentials/assessing/alternative.htm
Austin Lee, S., Sun Park, H., & Choi, J. (2011). The relationship between communication climate and elementary teachers' beliefs about alternative assessment. Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology,5(1), 11-18.
Britton, T. (2011). Using formative and alternative assessments to support instruction and measure student learning.Science Scope, 34(5), 16-21.
Dikli, S. (2003). Assessment at a distance: Traditional vs. alternative assessments. Online Journal of Educational Technology, 21(3), 13-19.
Job, J. (n.d.). Alternative assessment. UNC School of Eduction. http://www.learnnv.org/lp/page/7041
Tan, K. H. K. (2012). How teachers understand and use power in alternative assessment. Education Research Journal, 2012, 1-11. doi: 10.1155/2012/382465
Using alternative assessments. (n.d.). http://ctl.byu.edu/collections/using- alternative-assessments
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
Alternative assessments encourage students to become responsible for their own learning by allowing them more authentic ways to demonstrate their abilities (Tan, 2012). They measure performance in forms rather than traditional paper-and-pencil tests and highlight where further improvement is needed (Job).
Alternative assessments let learners express their knowledge in their own ways using various intelligences (Dikli, 2003).
A major benefit of alternative assessment is allowing students to choose how they want to demonstrate their understanding through a variety of products (Britton, 2011).
Effective alternative assessment relies on observations that are recorded using checklists and rubrics ("Assessing learning").
Learners who have not been expected to take responsibility for their own learning before may need time to adjust to this new form of assessment. Teachers must prepare students for the use of alternative assessments and allow time to slowly implement them into the classroom curriculum ("Assessing learning").
1) Share scoring criteria (checklist/rubric) with students prior to assigning the assessment.
2) Provide students with clear statements of standards and/or several models of acceptable performance.
3)Encourage students to complete self and peer evaluations of performances/products.