Posted on 11/18/2009 at 04:21 PM by Global Reach

A question that comes up from time to time when teachers talk about using 21st century technology skills in their classroom is, "The students really had fun doing that project, but how to I assess if my students learned anything from it?" I was listening to a teacher from California discuss all of the great things he had done with technology at the high school level and he had a really great way to assess the learning of his students. When he did a collaborative project where students had to work together on a project using any kind of technology he always did three assessments. He would assess the final project, give a multiple choice or short answer test, and then have the students (write or type) a reflection on their own learning during that project. The grade for the project would be the same for all participants involved, but the other two parts fall on the students themselves.

I thought this three part assessment would be great to use. A lot of times when students get together to do a collaborative project, they don't know how to work together and divvy out the work. Some students do more, some do less, but in the end the all get the same grade for the project. The three part assessment takes care of that. The group may get one grade, but if the individual student doesn't know the content and can't reflect on the learning then his/her grade may suffer compared to the rest of the group. This seems like a fair way to assess.

Teachers do this all the time in other areas, but when it comes to technology some teachers (myself included) struggle with the question, "How do I assess this great project in a fair way?" I hope this entry may help some of you in the area of assessing 21st century skills.

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