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Assessment answers the question: How will I know my students have mastered the material/objectives? Assessments used to be added on as an afterthought in course design, like by throwing in a quiz or a test (summative assessments), but that's changed a lot. Especially in online learning, they are often embedded in the design as authentic or performance assessments (like this ePortfolio website) and student-directed learning (like this final project). Nowadays in online learning, Objectives, Activities and Assessments are all meant to align together using the same action verbs. Form 6.2 represents a beginning understanding of Alignment. One very important thing you will see in form 6.3 is more mature Alignment. This means the objectives, activities, and assessments all line up together exactly - they match! The action verbs are the same in each element; they all repeat and support the same objective.
An example of Alignment and Assessment is in form 6.3 in the first module, where the objective is for the students to navigate and utilize the Compassionate Curriculum CMS. (You can refer to my Assessment unit in this site for more information, as well.) The Assessment for this objective is totally straightforward. As the students navigate and utilize the CMS by posting and accessing Content, student Profiles, and the DropBox, the instructor will see this successful navigation on her side of the CMS, which keeps records of EVERYTHING, practically!
My favorite form of assessment is performance assessment, because in these final projects like this one students perform their understanding of the content. These assessments require Creativity, the highest form of thinking in Bloom's taxonomy and by far the most fun. They also require the students to integrate their knowledge enough to Apply (another level of Bloom's) it in another form - the project. Additionally, projects can be chosen by the students so as to be relevant to their lives. Brain science has shown how much easier it is to learn something that is of value to the student and has prior meaning than something that has no inherent meaning to them. Assessment is so awesome because it can be the main driver of learning instead of simply a measurement tool!
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