Over the last few months I have been looking at how I can use the assessments developed in the online curriculum that I am required to use. Frustratingly most of the assessments ill-suit using the data to improve learning outcomes. Most of the quizzes and tests deliver a summarize evaluation with data that does not address decisions I should make about learning goals.
This is not to say the curriculum I am working with is bad. The content attempted shows exemplary value. Pedagogically the format leaves room for more engaging experiences yet still offers some level of interaction. The assessments that would better enable me to examine whether students grasp the exemplary content packaged in substandard formats provide little useable feedback. Data pulled from the daily quizzes, biweekly labs, and end of unit exams test student semantic skills rather than content understanding.
Another thing that seems out of place is the brick and mortar style of assessment and instruction in an environment where students move at their own pace. In a Traditional school the style of instruction and assessment could be used to develop interventions on a daily basis but in this situation data about student understanding of concepts can sometimes take a month to collect. Instead of providing student with immediate feedback or allowing me to spot discrepancies in content and understanding and fill the gap – the content plunges onwards and leaves students with gaps in their understanding.
What I would love is to have several months to take the current content and redesign the student user experience so that they are constantly assessed and when they miss some component of the knowledge – they have immediate feedback that loops them into further lessons on the deficit area. I try to do this on several levels by providing discussion forums for peer evaluation and by developing interactive live-labs.
The problem is that many of my student do not show up or have yet to participate in any of the live curriculum. In these cases I have no clues to their understanding except through the assessments already in the course. If I were able to invest some time into better formative assessments I think I could pick up these students. It would also refine the decisions for all students and hopefully derive improved outcomes on the summarize assessments.
Still working on it all – with high hopes too.