Exploring Assessment

Today students were doing an assessment. We started the day with a more traditional type of assessment. Despite being online, I have students complete an assessment using OneNote and show their work – either by doing on paper and uploading a picture or by doing the work right in OneNote. I give them the option to include an explanation for any or all of the questions if they feel more comfortable explaining their ideas that way.

Now, it was Thriller Thursday which means students get to choose some sort of theme for the day. Sometimes its dressing up, wearing crazy hats or bringing snacks to recess and getting time to hang out. I try as much as possible to see if we can come up with different things so they don’t get too bored. Today they decided that we should have a game theme. Well, who doesn’t like playing games! For games I tried to mix them up with some just fun games and then a few subject related games. Then, because I was curious about this, I had students do a game that was related to the topic for our morning assessment.

Some Interesting Insights

How students did in the game was not reflected in how they did in the assessment. All were less successful during the game. I attribute this to the time factor that is involved in the game. As soon as time is added as a factor, students rushed to answer and didn’t take time to work through the answer. It did reinforce that allowing students to work through an assessment at their own pace is important if we want their best attempt. Also, during a game, there is no opportunity to go back to change your response once it is made. Because a number of students play with their cameras on, I witnessed their responses after they had made a response AND then reread the question.

I like using games as an option for formative assessment. However, after what I witnessed today, I know that having any type of time constraint really seems to have a negative affect on the responses students provide. I mean, this is the first time doing this but I’m definitely going to try something similar in the future. I know that there are a number of students who really enjoy working through information using a game style format. But in these cases, I often allow for them to redo the games to improve and don’t have time constraints.

For me, today was a good reminder that games are a good way to help students to learn but we have to be careful how we use these games. Although I do use some different formats for formative assessment, I also need to be more careful in the how these games are set up and the feedback that students get as they progress.

Just some things I’m thinking about today because Every Day is a PD Day.

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