Evaluation and Feedback for Improving Student Learning…in a Digital World

As my personal learning network evolves, I am constantly overwhelmed and amazed at the depth of knowledge our DEN community shares; especially through its blog posts.  Recently, a few blog posts caught my eye and challenged my own thinking on the subject of student evaluation in an increasingly digital world.

If you haven’t seen it before, taking a look at “Blooms Taxonomy and Web 2.0”  posted by Aimee Stoffel provides a framework for understanding which web 2.0 tool to select in reference to your learning objectives. Of course there are numerous other tools that could be listed here, and each tool listed can be used in a number of ways.  However, I really liked how this map can get novice technology-using educators started by evaluating digital tools in the context of how they can be positioned within the instructional process.

Another framework for considering the uses of digital assessment tools is The Six Design Principles of the 21st Century High School as mentioned in RJ Stangherlin’s blog post.  Informative Assessment is one of the 6 necessary pillars for this Challenge Based Learning model to succeed.   The site mentions,

“The type of data collection for informative assessment varies considerably, but might include student journals and self-assessments, peer reviews, teacher observations, student-teacher conferences, interim product analysis (based on rubrics), and others.”

These assessment measures often expose ranges of ability levels, and are designed to provide teachers with the necessary information to get students “back on track” while the learning process is still occurring.  Because students need to have mastered essential skills and strategies in order to perform at high levels when working through Challenge Based Learning models, formative assessment is a crucial step in this process.

One specific challenge formative assessments pose is time, which is arguably one of the rarest commodities in schools.  So when I review this list I automatically ask myself, “What digital tools could I use to save instructional time and simplify the process?”  One digital formative assessment tool DEN members across the country have been using is Progress Zone; a standards-based tool for building formative assessments of any level.  Are you using Progress Zone?  What other digital formative assessment tools are you using in your classroom?  What successes have you had?  How are digital formative assessment tools helping to improve student learning?  I’d love to hear from you!


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