Authentic Performance Based Assessment – Made Easy

Nancy Spencer, 7th grade science teacher is passionate about science and student learning.  She is a dedicated educator who wants to know if students are achieving each lessons’ identified learning targets.  For this lesson, she wants to know – can students effectively use a microscope, make a slide of a cell, examine it, and identify the organelle of the cell.  Prior to the Harwood Union Middle Schools 1:1 i-pad initiative, for Nancy to truly assess the acquisition of skills and knowledge in this lesson for each student, it would require her to first look at each students’ work while it was under the microscope. She would then need to give them a pencil and paper assessment to see if they could identify the organelle.  Imagine what would happen, in a class of 20 middle school students, if the teacher tried to walk around taking 2-3 minutes to look at each student’s slide, give feedback and jot down assessment data.  Not a pretty picture.

cellsA picture of a Cell

Now, erase that picture of chaos from your mind and imagine this.  Students prepare their slides, focus their microscopes and then, using their I-pads, take a picture of their results.  They upload their picture to Notability – an application that allows students to mark up documents and then share it.  They identify the cell parts, and then share their results with Nancy via their class learning platform, Schoology.  Nancy can later open the appropriate file and  assess each students’ performance of the task using the rubric she designed that is housed in Schoology.  Not only can she see if students can identify the parts of a cell, but how well they can make a slide and use a microscope based on the clarity of the image. Now the kicker – students were the ones who figured out how to take the picture using their i-pad, and suggested to Nancy that they upload it to Notability!