Here in Utah, we cannot attach state testing in any way, shape, or form to a student’s grade. We can’t even off incentives as motivation to do well.
So in comes my own year-end final. But by the time I give it at the end of May they have just had a whole month of state testing for English, Math, and Science. I don’t want to give them another 65 question test over the material we have learned this year.
In comes my dilemma—I am at a loss for different ways my students can show me what they have learned with it not being a test or a writing assignment. I have 1 class period (70 minutes) to accomplish this task. Let the brainstorming begin!
I did some searching on the old internet to see what ideas I could find for alternative assessment ideas. Wow! There is a lot out there. Here is some of what I found--
The assessment menu is wonderful. Students are given a "menu" that lists several assessment options. They must complete a certain number of activities on the menu by the end of the unit. Students get choice! I love that.
In this example here, the students need to pick 4 different tasks--from different levels and learning styles. Some of the fun assessment activities are: Create a Dictionary, Diary Entries, Make a Comic Book, Explore the "What if...", and Exploring a Controversial Issue.
I love that this gets the students working at various DOK levels, and that it provides students with many opportunities to show what they know.
Having students get up and present to the class is a great way for them to show what they have learned. On InformEd, there is an article about how peer teaching can improve student learning. Students teaching students has many benefits:
Research also indicates that peer learning activities typically yield the following results for both tutor and tutee: team-building spirit and more supportive relationships; greater psychological well-being, social competence, communication skills and self-esteem; and higher achievement and greater productivity in terms of enhanced learning outcomes.
There are many awesome resources on Teachers Pay Teachers to help the kids learn how to give TED talk style speeches! Go check them out.
While sifting through the results of my Google search, I found Tech In Pedagogy. Joshua Elliot wrote a fabulous post about using tech for alternative assessments. One of his ideas is to do a presentation Jigsaw. My students all have a Google account, so they can log-in and put together a Google Slide Show. Each of the students will do certain slides in the slide show and then going back to the student presentation option, the students can get up in front of the class to present what they learned.
Ideas from YOU!
I posed this question on Facebook and Instagram. Here are some your suggestions:
whitalynn_teaches--I really liked something my mentor teacher did while I was student teaching. She gave the kids a list of topics covered and students had to write one to two pages defending or criticizing a component of the year. So if a student hated Great Gatsby, they would write about how it needs to be replaced with XYZ or Activity 1 helped a lot, but Activity 2 needs these adjustments because... etc. It is very reflective, gives you feedback, and lets you see the kids write one more time.
techsavvyela--Last year, we did a fishbowl discussion to showcase what we learned. Students sat in a circle and asked questions (I asked some too) regarding big themes and ideas we discussed in the semester. I teach 11th grade so you might have to modify a little, but it was really great- and really quick to grade 😉
Renee Hargrove--God love 'em. I make my seniors do an on-demand style essay.
Catherine Conlon Storke--A portfolio reflection of their growth in each of the standards. It puts the work on them to reflect on what they learned.
Natalie McKee--My mom said she had a professor in college who gave a test and at the end told students they could "dump" anything else they'd studied for but that hadn't been on the test as a bonus. I thought it was a great idea.
Nichole Lynn--Digital story