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Viewing Assessment Through the Lens of Global Best Practices

Lead Features October / October 17, 2018

-Terra Graves-

It’s finally here! The global standards for Flipped Learning (FL) have been released to the public! Did you know that the Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences (AALAS) Standards for reaching every student every day include best practices for assessment in the FL classroom?

They are as follows:

  1. Use frequent, formative assessments.
  2. Use a large portion of teacher class time to engage in structured micro-conversations with students.
  3. Select different types of questions according to Bloom’s taxonomy.
  4. Design assessments where students have a choice in how they will present their mastery of the concepts.
  5. Have a plan for students who come to class having completed the pre-work but still don’t fully grasp the concepts.
  6. Align all assessments with learning outcomes.
  7. Provide assessments with clear rubrics.
  8. Provide assessments that involve the creation of a real-life product or the use of real-life skills.

Let’s take a look at technology tools and other resources to support these best practices for assessment in a Flipped Learning environment.  

  • Use frequent, formative assessments:
      1. In the NWEA article The Ultimate List – 65 Digital Tools and Apps to Support Formative Assessment Practices by Kathy Dyer, she shares many wonderful (free and paid) tools from A to Z. Try out a few to see which one(s) work best for you and your students. My favorites on this list are Flipgrid, Google Forms, and Padlet. Another one that is not on this list but is so much fun is Quizizz
  • Use a large portion of teacher class time to engage in structured micro-conversations with students:
      1. As you make your rounds with students, you may want to keep notes, photos of student work, audio recordings, etc. to inform your instruction and student support. Notability is an exceptional tool for iPhones and iPads to digitize this process. Read about how this Literacy Specialist uses Notability and Common Sense Media’s app review. It isn’t free, but totally worth the money. For Android users, I recommend Microsoft OneNote. This app also works on iOS devices.
  • Select different types of questions according to Bloom’s taxonomy:
      1. This amazingly simple app called Stick Pick not only helps teachers select random students with a digital can full of popsicle sticks, but it can also generate random questions from the various levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. You can even set a default Bloom’s level for each student. Now that is reaching every student!
  • Design assessments where students have a choice in how they will present their mastery of the concepts:
      1. Many tools shared in #1 above can also be used for mastery assessment. Also, last month I shared some presentation and project tools which students can use for project creation that are certainly applicable here. Additionally, let’s take a look at how you can take advantage of students’ favorite social media tools to create mastery projects.  
        1. Explainer videos: This generation will most likely go down in history as the most photographed/videoed generation. Students are constantly taking selfies, sharing short video segments throughout the day, and basically experiencing their world through the lens of their phones. Michael Hernandez shares how his students create 60-second autobiographies in this article from KQED Education.  
        2. The art of “picting” using social media tools such as Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Seesaw is discussed in this article by Chrissy Romano-Arrabito for EdSurge.
  • Have a plan for students who come to class having completed the pre-work but still don’t fully grasp the concepts:
      1. This one is fairly simple. Using any of the above-aforementioned tools, create a short mastery check that students can access on your digital learning environment upon entering class. For older students (with smartphones) have them scan a QR code to link directly and quickly. Here’s an amazing Google Sheet created by my friend, Tammy Worcester Tang to help you quickly create multiple QR codes in one place. You could create short mastery checks based on which concepts students didn’t get. For example, on a chart or bulletin board near the entrance of the classroom, post “If you don’t understand this concept, scan this QR code to watch this video/play this game/read this article, etc.”  
  • Align all assessments with learning outcomes:
      1. Honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to find a technology tool that would fit with this best practice. I am truly amazed that I found this: The TALOE webtool helps teachers figure out what the best assessment method is depending on the learning outcome and Bloom’s taxonomy levels. What?! This is so cool! Read about it here. Try it out here.
  • Provide assessments with clear rubrics:
      1. Don’t reinvent the wheel! There are plenty of resources for creating and revising rubrics from templates. This article by PBIS Rewards offers a variety of options based on your particular focus, such as Common Core or Project-Based Learning.  
  • Provide assessments that involve the creation of a real-life product or the use of real-life skills:
    1. Here are some resources for helping students connect their learning to real-life experiences. Skim through them to get some ideas, and then look at some of the technology tools that may support the process.
      1. A Review of Project Based Learning-An Insanely Simple Guide by Dan Jones (FLGI International Faculty member)
      2. An excerpt from Increasing Student Learning Through Multimedia Projects, by Michael Simkins, Karen Cole, Fern Tavalin and Barbara Means
      3. Real-World Applications of Classroom Learning by Suzie Boss for Edutopia
      4. Top 12 Ways to Bring the Real World into Your Classroom by Kim Haynes for TeachHub
      5. Five Ways to Use Technology and Digital Media for Global Learning AsiaSociety
      6. Inventing for Kids, Parents, and Teachers
    2. Tools
      1. Skype in the Classroom
      2. Real World Simulation for Adolescents (This is NOT a tech tool. It is a paid event that can be purchased for teens to experience. Interesting.)
      3. Learning about the real world in the virtual world: ISTE’s 25 Resources for Bringing AR and VR into the Classroom by Jennifer Snelling
      4. Quirky A company/community that helps inventors bring their products into reality.

I applaud your effort in adhering to high-quality standards for assessment in your Flipped Learning environment. Teaching is a tough job, and assessments might just be the toughest part of the job. I hope that the information in this article will make your job a little easier. Start with just ONE of these practices each month. Your assessment program will be completely transformed by the end of the school year!






Terra Graves
Terra Graves
Terra has been an educator for over twenty years. She is a Program Specialist in the 21st Century Learning Division in Washoe County School District, NV. Prior to this position, she taught elementary and middle school for over ten years, and supported novice teachers as a full-time mentor for three years. Terra is Flipped Learning 3.0 Level -II Certified and a founding member of the FLGI International Faculty.




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