End of Semester Assessments

I've had some questions come lately about how I do assessments. I've integrated blogging and wikis into almost all of these. It is important to have “genuine” assessments which accurately reflect the knowledge of students. It is always a struggle to make sure we assess fairly but responsibly. Here is what four of my classes are doing this semester.

If you have any questions, post them.

Remember, as teachers we must be willing to do what is best for our students, not necessarily what we are used to. It was difficult to switch from “formal exams” but now that I have, I'm very happy and feel better the knowledge my students have.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Bronwyn G April 29, 2006 - 3:12 am

Yes, Vicki, it is worth it, for the students too, as well as for you. Then you will know that the skills and knowledge you are teaching aren’t going to waste and the students are using them actively in their own lives, which is important even after they leave school.

Bronwyn G April 29, 2006 - 3:13 am

And that’s awesome how the students have newspaper articles and publicity about them in eighth grade!

Aaron Nelson May 2, 2006 - 5:13 pm

Hi Vicki,
This was very interesting. I totally agree with you around walking away from exams. Authentic assessment is starting to become very important to me, and I am preparing to deploy a portfolio solution for my ESL students. (I teach business English in Mexico City.)

I’m curious: have you ever used a 100% digital format for your portfolio work?

How do you introduce the whole concept of portfolios? I would really love to learn how you do/did it from start to finish.

Aaron in Mexico City

Vicki A. Davis May 2, 2006 - 5:22 pm


Although much of the work in the portfolio is digital in nature, I do have the turn in a paper copy for one primary reason — electronic media can “dissappear” and I do not want the responsibility of making sure that all digital works remain in existence for time immemorium!

Also, I want them to have copies of what they have done as well as reference material for later (I have them printout copies of wikitext and HTML reference material.) This way, when they are in college and have forgotten the actual coding schema, they can go back and look at their records and use them to succeed.

In college, they don’t “teach” you to use these technologies, they typically just expect it. This way, I’ve given my students a recorded knowledge base to pull from.

I’m a big believer in backup. I always recommend that anyone who does a digital portfolio have a copy somewhere so that it does not “evaporate.”

Great question!

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