Automating Authentic Assessment
With Rubrics

Technology and the Future of Education

StudyWeb Academic Excellence Award

Student Assessment
Table of Contents

at Stone Middle School
Love Their
Teacher Assessment Tools!

Assistant Principal conducts annual teacher review.
(Students Are Not the Only Ones Being Assessed)

Students must develop more than a factual knowledge base in order to become scientifically literate.

They need to develop skills and attitudes that are appropriate for critical thinking and problem solving.

The Mandate

National Science Reform has Focused on Assessment

Project 2061 recommends that "...(assessment developers) invest more heavily than in the past in developing new kinds of tests to provide practical alternatives to tests that reward only the memorization of bits of information."
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science for All Americans: Project 2061

While discussing what students should be learning and doing, an example was provided: "...students should learn how to analyze situations and gather relevant information, define problems, generate and evaluate creative ideas, develop their ideas into tangible solutions, and assess and improve their solutions."
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy: Project 2061

"To become good problem solvers, students need to develop drawing and modeling skills, along with the ability to record their analyses, suggestions, and results in clear language."
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy: Project 2061

"Another important shift is toward authentic assessment. This movement calls for exercises that closely approximate the intended outcomes of science education."
National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council National Science Education Standards

"Authentic assessment exercises require students to apply scientific information and reasoning to situations like those they will encounter in the world outside the classroom as well as situations that approximate how scientists do their work."
National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council National Science Education Standards

State Science Frameworks Affirm the Need for New Assessments

for example in Florida:
"The assessment of science learning is complex, and cannot be accomplished solely through pencil and paper tests."
Florida Department of Education, Science for All Students: The Florida Pre K-12 Science Curriculum Framework

State Educational Goals Reflect the Same Mandate;

again, in Florida: Standard 3.1
"Florida students locate, comprehend, interpret, evaluate, maintain, and apply information, concepts and ideas found in literature, the arts, symbols, recordings, video and other graphic displays, and computer files, in order to perform tasks and/or for enjoyment."
Florida's Blueprint 2000
Goal 3: Student Performance

Local School Districts Are Often Realigning Educational Priorities to Include Authentic Assessment

"Given the opportunity to use resources, analyze information, and critically evaluate problems and solutions, students will be better prepared for life in the 21st Century."
Brevard County Schools: Scientific Literacy for All

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The Problem:
Authentic Assessment is a Time Intensive Method

A typical science class has thirty or more students. To be able to assess students for the skills that the 21st century will require means watching them as they focus on problems, gather information, identify key variables, develop a research question, etc. A teacher circulating around the room listening to cooperative groups may be able to catch a few of these behaviors on a legal pad with a clipboard. However, many more of the behaviors will be missed entirely as the teacher tries to identify the student and take notes on what they did. Furthermore, all of that written data will have to be interpreted at some point into summary data.

Teachers, especially Science Teachers, have very little time to spare with their current responsibilities. Consider designing task scenarios, collecting the necessary equipment and supplies, communicating performance standards, observing performance of students, evaluating performance, cleaning up following the activity, and then communicating the evaluation to students and families in a comprehensible fashion. This all requires a lot of what teachers don't have... TIME.


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One Solution: The Rubric
What is a Rubric

A rubric is a scoring guide that differentiates, on an articulated scale, among a group of sample behaviors, or evidences of thought that are responding to the same prompt.

The rubric may correlate with quantitative or qualitative scores.

Recommendations for Rubric Construction

(with appreciation to Donna Szpyrka and Ellyn B. Smith)
  1. Divide overall task into distinct subtasks that evidence student skills or comprehension/application of knowledge.
  2. Identify both cognitive and performance components that can be assessed.
  3. Determine whether qualitative or quantitative descriptors are going to be for each subtask- this may be influence by the purpose of the assessment ie: primarily for student feedback or for incorporating into a numerical average.
  4. Allow for full range of skill/knowledge with clear indicators of each level of performance.
  5. Use rubric for an evaluation of an presentation or activity.
  6. Revise rubric as necessary.
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Rubric Assessment on the Computer

Utilizing a Computer Database as a Rubric Form

How is this done?
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The Near Future of Computerized Assessment

Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's) such as the former Apple Newton®, Palm®, and the Visor®, are about the size of a calculator or TV remote.
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The Florida Institute of Technology/Brevard County School District had hoped to receive a grant to purchase a set of Apple Newtons. These Apple Newtons were to be used in an Assessment Pilot Study - we are now redirecting our attention to studying the software and capablities of the Palm OS (summer of 2001).

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