Tuesday, March 22, 2016

History Tests and History Tests


Last week I gave my students four choices from which they could choose as a summative assessment.
-About 20% of them took a traditional test.
-About 40% of them took an open internet, open text, open everything "test". They had to write an original argument on the net effect of the Protestant Reformation.
-About 40% made a listicle or comic summarizing the main events of the 16th century.  Below is one of the comics my students' made. The girl who made this used ComicLife. It looks quite nice, doesn't it?


More importantly, I wonder which of these assignments will be the "stickiest"? Which one will allow for long-term knowing? We know that the forgetting curve is a very real thing. Of course, this begs the question, why are we so worried that kids have to know things when odds are they will forget most of it no matter what we do? Why not build research and thinking skills into our formative assessment.

I still worry that all of my students did not choose to take the traditional test. I did tell them that the entire 9th grade gets a final (not designed by me) and that it will formatted as a traditional test and that I was concerned that they may not have enough practice in taking them. However, I think it is interesting that when given a choice, most students chose not to take the test. I stacked the deck in a way in favor of the test. It really was the easiest option. (I even gave them a study guide!)

I still don't have all the answers to these questions. Still, I was very pleased by the results.

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