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Assessing Student Learning

A common question that we get with regard to technology projects is "how do I grade it?" The 21st-century communication and collaboration skills which are used with most technology based projects are, in many ways, real-world problem-solving skills. The standard, multiple-choice type tests simply are not going to be able to assess students' learning. Instead of thinking of the assessment itself as the measurement, we are going to need to examine our students' performances of understanding. In other words, the assessment is the tool through which we can gauge how much our students have learned.

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Performance is most often viewed in the form of formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment is ongoing and provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning. It not only helps to monitor student progress throughout an activity, but can also gauge student understanding and readiness to proceed to further tasks. Summative assessment focuses on a particular point in time-- often at the conclusion of an activity. Both types of assessments are valuable tools when designing tasks to demonstrate mastery or understanding.

Rubrics to Measure Student Learning

Providing detailed explanations of an assignment using an online rubric, such as Rubistar or Digial Media Scoring Guides, can assist students in both completing tasks and improving future performance. Online rubric tools allow teachers to create rubrics quickly with a greater level of feedback, allowing for student interaction in the process. Also, online rubrics can easily be shared amongst teachers in schools and saved or modified for future assignments.

Fundamentally, assessing multimedia projects is no different from assessing a traditional project, writing assignment or presentation. The primary difference between traditional assessment and assessing multimedia projects created with technology and web 2.0 tools is that one must consider the unique features and possibilities associated with a specific medium. A podcast for example has a unique set of possibilities that are entirely different from a wiki, whereas, a wiki would have a completely different set of expectations and requirements when compared to a student video project.

When assessing student work created with technology, it is important to consider the learning curve that is typically associated with using a new technology. Also, there is the dual consideration of assessing the process and the product. Where the first podcast product may be somewhat lacking in refinement, the process used by the student group may have been exceptional. As the year progresses, the expectations for both the process and the product may become more demanding as the students become more comfortable with the particular technology platform.

General Multimedia Assessment Tools

Assessing Student Blogging

Assessing Wikis

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Assessing Websites

Assessing Voicethread Projects

Assessing Podcasts

Assessing Video Projects

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