Assessment is an ever changing and challenging topic for teacher-librarians and teachers. Designing authentic assessment tools that help students know what is expected of them as well as providing options for unbiased evaluation are feats for even a master educator. This column focuses on web sites that provide insight into the authentic assessment process and sample assessments that can easily be used as starting points for novice and veteran educators.
Begin by visiting the instructional module on assessment found at the George Lucas Educational Foundation, www.edutopia.org/modules/Assessment/index.php. Here educators can explore a number of authentic assessment ideas and examples as they read and discuss articles on the topic. Information on developing rubrics and for including students in the assessment development process rounds out the learning experience. A number of assessment resources, such as additional web sites, rubric generators, PDF files of the modules, multimedia examples, and learning activities are included.
Next peruse the "Assessment Hot Topics" link at Prentice Hall School, www.phschool.com/professional%5fdevelopment/ assessment/index.html. Performance assessment is discussed on this site, and examples of portfolio-based assessment are explored. Sample rubrics ranging from oral presentation to map creation to classroom discussion to timeline creation are offered.
Yet another professional development opportunity can be found at the University of Wisconsin-Stout School of Education, www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/assess.shtml. Assessment guru Grant Wiggins starts this extensive look at authentic assessment.
The options continue with concise, thought-provoking articles on developing classroom performance assessments and scoring rubrics. Be sure to check out the "Example of Rubrics" link. Here users will find a treasure-trove of teacher-created rubrics that can easily be used as is or that can be tweaked for a specific situation.
Creating Rubrics, www.teachervision.fen.com/page/4521.html, contains a series of five articles that guides readers through discovering the advantages of rubrics, creating an original rubric, and dealing with the weighting of rubric categories. Information on analytic and holistic rubrics is also conveyed in straightforward terms. The learning options conclude with an article on student-developed rubrics. The example in the article is a delightful interdisciplinary project in math, science, reading, and writing.
Rubrics for Web Lessons, edweb.sdsu.edu/webquest/rubrics/weblessons.htm, is designed as part of a WebQuest workshop. The materials guide educators through the process of developing and using rubrics for a web-based activity. The various sample rubrics, rubric template, and the workshop exercise make the site a useful professional development tool. A list of print and nonprint resources on rubrics complements the site.
Caroline McCullen, a nationally known technology educator, has provided a superbly structured look at assessing Internet research and multimedia projects found at the MidLink Magazine, www.ncsu.edu/midlink/rubrics/ index.htm. The site provides a number of sample projects for practice assessment, sample rubrics, and information on developing effective performance tasks. An excellent PowerPoint presentation on constructing rubrics is available for download as well as rubric templates in Excel. Word and Excel files on rubric checklists and vocabulary are also available.
Electronic Learning Marketplace, www.elm.maine.edu/index.asp, is the gateway to a vast array of authentic assessment options developed by teachers in Maine. This portal includes a searchable database of activities where students can demonstrate their knowledge of subjects. While the activities are tied to Maine's state standards, the projects can be used in any classroom. Professional development tutorials on curriculum design and assessment, authentic assessment options, rubric development, and Maine's Comprehensive Local Assessment Systems finish out this wealth of assessment information and options.
The Writing Site, www.thewritingsite.org/default.asp, provides practice in the holistic scoring or assessment of writing for students in grades 3 through 8. The site includes over 100 student examples in four genres--narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive. A tutorial takes the user through the scoring process. Exemplar papers are also available in scanned and PDF format. The scoring activity allows users to score a paper and then compare one's score with an expert's score. Links to similar papers and other examples with similar scores are provided. The site concludes with a variety of writing instruction resources. Designed as a useful tool for teachers in Indiana, this site works well for all teachers who have student writing that needs to be scored in a holistic manner.
The web site teAchnology offers a marvelous set of rubrics at www.teachnology.com/web%5ftools/rubrics/ with options for self-assessment as well as teacher assessment. Each rubric is developed by having the creator provide a name and selecting a picture for use with the rubric. Although free options cannot be customized or saved for later editing, they are well developed and provide good-quality print copies for use by students and teacher-librarians. Rubrics for changing activities, science fair reports, handwriting, typing, listening, and a number of other choices are available.
Another free rubric creation site is RubiStar, rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php. This site allows the creator to save and edit rubrics upon completion of the free registration. A quick tutorial introduces the user to the site and rubric creation. Templates are available for assessment of oral, writing, multimedia, math, research, art, and a number of other projects. Rubrics are created by selecting options from drop-down menus; customization is simple. Links provide information on using rubrics in classrooms and students' thoughts on having rubrics available. This site is also available in Spanish.