What makes a quality BLOG?  A quality WIKI?  A video podcast to persuade? A tweet to inform? A business email?

With new forms of assessments to upgrade teaching and learning we need corresponding new rubrics to provide feedback to our learners.   Our team at Curriculum 21 has started a project to develop rubrics to assist educators in developing rubrics for use in our classrooms from the pre-K through college.

Students can and should be part of the rubric scaffolding process.  Recently, for example, I was conducting a workshop when we listened to a podcast by some high school students in social studies regarding the Civil War.   As we listened it was clear that this podcast was not ready for posting on the school podcasting channel.  It sounded like a “first podcast DRAFT”.    The ideas and content was excellent on the podcast but the delivery was stiff.   Our group agreed that It sounded as if the students were reading  directly from a script for the first time with no intention or connection.   Thus, in the same way, that we have first and second and third iterations in “writing process”, we need the same review process on new 21st century assessment forms.   Digi-rubrics will reflect the quality of the techniques used for the form such as use of camera angle and sound on a video podcast AND, as always, the content and ideas that are conveyed through the medium selected.

We invite you to send your thoughts, suggestions, and resources.  You can post a comment here on the blog site or send an email to our director of C-21 projects:  Bill@curriculum21.com (Bill Sheskey).  Our goal will be post these rubrics on our Curriculum 21/Clearinghouse and at ASCD Edge to field-test them with students in our classrooms.   Thank you

Preparing Our Kids for 1982 : Time Traveling through Testing

Cross posted to ASCD Edge

Are your students time-traveling on testing day? Back to the 1980’s- let’s go.

If your tests are overwhelmingly multiple choice, fill in the blank, short constructed essay, longer extended essay whether open book or open note, then welcome back to the old days.   I did some archival research online and found tests and items that went back to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and found that they are identical TYPES of assessment to present day assessments.  In many instances, they are identical in content as well.

Not only are the types of tests the same, too often so are the tools.  We continue to venerate the #2 pencil.   I wonder, when the pencil was invented, did  kids have to go to PENCIL-LAB?… Did they march  down the hall to the lab, return to the classroom, pick up their quills, dip them in an inkwell and proceed back to “work”?

Is there hope?  Yes, I am reminded of the state of Rhode Island’s policy of graduation by proficiency with a student developed digitalized portfolio beginning with the primary grades through to graduation.  I would direct readers to the CCSSO EdSteps project with a remarkable new way to collect a national pool of student work. Authentic dynamic assessments are emerging in pockets and in classrooms around the country.  Let’s surface them prominently and especially those that are geared toward 2020.  Curriculum 21 calls for upgrading on all levels- one replacement at a time.   Are our student assessments reflecting moderns forms of media and contemporary issues? Some argue that new forms diminish the traditional skills, I disagree.  If our students are engaged then we will see better quality basics.   We can and must show reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills- whether in a web 2.0 application or creating a documentary.  If a student cannot read, he or she cannot read a computer screen.   The great fundamentals of the past need to be lifted into 2011.

On our C-21 Clearinghouse at the Curriculum 21 website we have posted open access tagged interactive tools for educators to try new approaches to engage their learners.  We see this also as opportunity to update assessment practice as well.  (For example, Take a look at gapminder and see how you might use it to engage your students in meeting an array of standards.)  We are beginning a new project with ASCD on collecting upgraded projects from teachers around the world to share and to inspire us all moving forward. We will keep you posted on this one!

We need to choose our century.   The students have chosen theirs.