Assessing Our Assessment

“You want a group where the group is smarter than any one individual” says James Paul Gee.  Teachers are always thinking about how to increase collaboration and transitioning ourselves to be facilitators rather than givers of knowledge.  As an educator, I feel that I should not be the sole judge of academic or creative success.  I want my students to have the ability to critique each other and share each other’s challenges and strengths.  Academically, I am responsible for guiding students toward success.  Creatively is another story.

magicissomethingyoumake.jpg

I feel that my students troubleshoot technology quite well.  If my students are teaching me as regularly as I teach them, I know I need to include them when assessing creativity.  Although I tend to be a pretty open-ended person, part of the essence of creativity is the collaboration between individuals, especially as seen in the Maker Movement.  There is a freedom that comes with low-stakes group collaboration.  The Isselhardt article discusses that rather than perceiving critical thinking as a result (of directive teaching), they saw it as an immersion model in which exploration informs and develops students’ thinking processes (2013). Students should be immersed in opportunities that allow them to explore freely and safely under the guidance of their teacher and their peers.  

In turn, teachers should embrace assessing creativity rather than fear it (Wiggins, 2012).  I know my biggest fear is that by assessing student creativity, it will squash the spark that makes students creative in the first place.  However, as Wiggins discusses, we can develop innovative ways of assessing creativity and innovation.  When exploring ideas like the Maker Movement, creativity is at the heart.  Since my collective group of students is quite creative, I feel they should also be the center of assessing each other creatively.

When I reflect on assessments in my classroom I find I like rubrics or a framework that carries a running theme that students find familiar and understand, but is adaptable to specific projects as needed.  One example is our science fair rubric.  Each year, our students want to express their creative skills to round out the technicality that is required for their projects.  As I’m reflecting on this past year’s science fair and how we can improve it next year, I would like to add a creativity component to help the students express themselves.

While researching ideas for assessing creativity, I came across a graphic that shows a spectrum of creative skills that can be assessed with various types of projects.

creativityassessment

Seeing this wheel, it reminds me of many of the best practices we discussed during our CEP 811 class.  Using maker tools such as the littleBits project I explored with there are technical aspects that need to be addressed, but creativity was a huge part of it.  The collaborative work aspect encourages students to reflect on their cooperation.  But overall, I see a progression of creative learning.  This is a good reminder for me as an educator to reflect on whether I provide time on task for these key areas.  Do I foster creativity in the classroom and allow for students to reflect on their work as well as their peers to address the needs within the wheel?

Looking toward the future, I would like to share this image with the students and see how they would like to be rated on this scale.  I imagine using it similar to how a rubric is used, with the smaller boxes leading from the inside out to the bigger boxes.  Teachers and students could both utilize the wheel, but students would shape the specifics.

References

CREATIVE TALLIS: Progression in Creativity report. (2012, May 24). Retrieved December 7, 2015, from http://creativetallis.blogspot.com/2012/05/progression-in-creativity-report.html

Isselhardt, E. (2013, February 13). Creating Schoolwide PBL Aligned to Common Core. Retrieved December 6, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/PBL-aligned-to-common-core-eric-isslehardt

McGee, J. (2010, July 20). James Paul McGee on Grading with Games [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU3pwCD-ey0

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retrieved fromhttp://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/

Photo Source

Magic is Something You Make (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2015, from https://static.pexels.com/photos/6727/wood-lighting-creativity-paper.jpg

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