Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Performance Based Assessments Will Play a Major Role In Common Core Lessons

Do standardized tests truly reflect the academic abilities of students in general?  How are the skills of ELLs accurately projected with these tools?  The answers to both questions are that such tests do not truly portray a full picture of student potential.

Common core standards in ALL content areas will offer teachers many opportunities to design lessons with multiple types of assessments.  These assessments can take on many different forms with something that will appeal to each of the learning styles (kinesthetic, visual, and auditory).  Technology and team-building will become instrumental tools for students to use in accomplishing their goals here.  In such a setting, the ELL will be actively engaged in a subject of interest to him/her so anxiety will be low.  Further, this type of activity builds academic language, provides access to content in a non-threatening learning environment, and addresses English language development.  Skills acquired here are those that are requirements in the global workforce of today.

What types of projects might teachers consider trying?  Here are a few.  A class students might present a power point on farming techniques of the future that will feed more while using less land.  This will involve use of reputable resources on the internet plus their own creative ideas to arrive at a plan with potential to meet the rising need for food on this planet.  Another project idea might be to plan out the ideal city for 2050.  They could take the city they currently live in and address the changes which would be needed to accommodate a 20% increase in population.  They could also design a new city set off the land--the sea.  Again, lots of research must be done on what effects a jump in population would have on schools, housing, sanitation, water, etc.  They must identify specific potential problems and well thought out solutions.

With every project, common core content standards would be addressed so the teacher would have more than enough material to grade (still a must in any school system), but more importantly, all students would be actively engaged in addressing a problem of importance to them.  Teachers may find talents in their students (especially the quiet ones) that they never knew existed:)




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