Saturday, January 10, 2015

Final Exam Portfolio's with Google Drive.

As a secondary level educator, it is inevitable that my students will have to take some type of "final exam." Apparently. I am a rare breed in my neck of the woods, as far as viewing this "final" culminating assessment as a way to prove without a doubt that students mastered the content, instead of a massive regurgitation exercise that shows how well students memorize and recall information they're told they need to know. Every year my culminating assessment takes a different flavor. One year it was a lab practicum, one year it was a collection of thought experiments, another year it was a TED-talk like presentation...this year there will be three parts to the assessment. First,  I plan to use Google Drive and Google Classroom for students to "host" a portfolio of work that can serve as evidence to prove mastery of specific content. The portfolio will include various reflective prompts that will require students to dig deep into their inner learning and rate their own mastery of the content.  The second part of the exam will challenge students to access their inner Earth Science STEAM brains to create a solution to a local Earth Science themed problem using limited resources. The third part will require students to peer review their work. How will all this work you ask? Let's start with the portfolio.

The First Part: Host a portfolio on Google drive.

Students will be required to select appropriate documents, that meet specific criteria to serve as evidence for their learning. They will be expected to organize a domain public folder with a document that defends their evidence as proof for their understanding. Students will also have the bonus option to customize a generic index.html file that can be edited using Drive Notepad to serve as a landing page for their work. (A separate standard will be amended to the assessment to rate their mastery if they choose to use HTML)

Part Two: Inner STEAM Challenge

For this section, students will be presented with three local scenario's that are related to Earth Science. They will be required to design and propose a solution to one scenario. The scenarios will be presented in such a way that students have to use Earth Science concepts and scientific thinking to be able to develop a plausible solution. The solution will demonstrate mastery of specific concepts, contain visuals/schematic plans where necessary for appropriate apparatuses, and be presented through formal proposal writing.

Part Three: Peer Review

Grading is a significant part of teaching, but how can we make grading easier? For this assessment, I'm turning to my students to help take the edge off the massive amounts of grading following this assessment. Students will participate in a peer review activity, where they will politely critique portfolio's and STEAM solutions. This peer review won't be the end all be all of arriving at a grade, however, it will significantly help me streamline my efforts. This peer review session will use the grading rubrics, retrofitted into a Google form to quickly gather student data that I can use as reference while I review students' work.

With the help of Google Drive, Google Forms, and Google Classroom my students will be presented with a unique culminating assessment that will prove the opportunity for them to prove their understanding on multiple levels.

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