Evidence of Learning With Informal Assessment

Most of the informal assessments will include projects and presentations and discussions. Overall, there will be three aspects of evidence of learning:

In order to gather valid evidence of learning, the conversations, observations and products should be derived from multiple and varied assessment opportunities:

Teachers should use formal assessment measures to gather evidence of learning, because it is important to be exposed to various norm, criterion and standardized tests. Higher education still uses these methods whether they are effective or not, so we owe it to students to teach them how to effectively write these tests and learn from them.

However, it is important that teachers use informal methods of assessment to evaluate student learning. Life beyond higher education is not going to be a standardized test. Students will eventually be required to create products individually and collaboratively in the workplace.

Here is an example of how a teacher can use informal assessment methods to guide student learning and prepare them for the future:

In MFM2P, students learn about applications of the quadratic form     ax^2+bx+c = 0. For a rich informal assessment, students can be asked to sketch and create structures that use parabolas in their design. They can then present their project and explain the mathematics involved in their design and product.

A teacher can assess the students in a variety of ways. A checklist can be used to ensure the student is progressing appropriately. Ongoing observations can be used to guide student-teacher in-person conferences or journaling. At the end, Peer/Self assessments can be administered to guide a final rubric. This rubric can be used to evaluate the four domains of achievement (Knowledge/Understanding, Thinking, Communication and Application). The finished notes and product (take photos of physical models) can be added to the student’s portfolio.

The informal assessments do not exist well as standalone assessments. Combining them using a rich task is an effective way to ensure that students are being assessed based on valid and reliable conversations, observations and products.

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