Sometimes when I have tried to get students to "Show Me What They Know" - and I give them the freedom to use their own strengths or interests, I have been disappointed with the results. Perhaps it's the fact that the samples we all show each other are those which we are proudest of and then when the results of my students don't measure up I think that somehow my approach isn't working...and that niggling thought in the back of my mind drags me back to considering marking the 'Presentation' or 'Creativity' to up the results.
However this year I am beginning to receive much better results and I think it is because:
a) I'm doing a better job
b) I've got better students or...
c) Examples that are from my own classes have given the students a chance to see the possibilities...
d) They had Russ last year and are used to taking risks
Well it's c (as you all know because it is always C and because it is the longest explanation - thanks UBC Assessment class)...and of course D but I didn't want to grow that ego any more.
It has simply taken time for me to gather up and have different examples (some big and extensive and others simple but brilliant) that have sparked my students into finding ways to show me their knowledge. Thus my nerves have been somewhat eased and my belief in allowing students to use their own interests reinforced.
Keeping my students' work from previous years - and saving samples in files on my computer - has begun to pay off and it is great to see.
Realizing this I have asked students to record (with their cell phones) even some simple white board work - Recently I asked my students to show me the difference between a laissez-faire (1930's Canada) government and a welfare state (today) without using words. My favorite is below. I'm hoping that by showing it to future classes when I ask them to try the same assignment that it will lead them to think of different ways to show the difference between the two concepts.
(The students used the idea that some suggest those who are out of work (down and out) are told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps - while others think they don't have the skills necessary and could use a hand up)…
Post courtesy of Dave Searcy