Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Assessment Over the Computer Screen

Assessment is always a challenge in Art Education as the field is referred to as subjective where right and wrong are not so black and white as they would be in a subject such as math or science. In a brick and mortar classroom I often graded final projects based on the work I witnessed students completing in the classroom. I was able see their challenges and triumphs, as well as the amount of effort and time they put into it. Therefore, my methods of assessment have changed since moving to an online classroom. I now use three different methods of assessment for each unit. I still use a traditional project that students complete to show their understanding of concepts and techniques. This project also encourages creativity and problem solving as a traditional project would in any art classroom. However, a project alone does not tell me the whole story about my students’ understandings of content. This semester I have added reading quizzes. Students begin each week by reading the lesson content in my classroom much like a textbook chapter. Previously, I had no way of assessing understanding of their readings until I added quizzes. This week I am teaching linear perspective and the quiz that students take help me assess what students are having trouble and what ideas I need to emphasize in my live lessons. The quiz also helps motivate students to read the lesson, which promotes a deeper level of learning. I also use the quizzes as data to determine the success of a particular lesson and to group students by their level of understanding. My special needs teacher can use them to monitor IEP progress based on the reading level of the quiz content. The third way I assess students in my classroom is through reflective questions about the project and student learning. Students answer two questions that often ask them to share their experiences, proof of learning, and changes they would’ve made if they were given the opportunity to do the project again. Reflection encourages critical thinking and growth and helps me understand what students feel they gain through the lesson. Overall, I feel these three methods have been helpful and thorough in measuring student success in my online classroom.

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