One of my goals this year is to involve the students in the creation of assessments. Last year I got this started by giving them a rubric and having them score themselves against it. I’d also grade the item in question and we’d compare scores and discuss the differences if they arose. This year I wanted to up the stakes by involving them in both creating the assessment rubric and contributing assessment items.
About once or twice a week after our investigation and practice, the last question will be to create a problem related to the days work. Students author a question and either an answer key or suggested solution paths if it open ended. These questions often make up the quizzes or parts of the assessments. We’ve even had a few student led debates or Would you Rather sessions. I’ve also had students switch questions and use them as a review session. When we started this work, most were lower level skill questions, but as they’ve had more exposure to the types of questions I ask, they have stepped up their game. There are obviously lots of less well thought out questions still too, but I’m happy with my first attempt of getting the students more involved.
A few examples of questions I’ve received and then used on an assessment or quiz:
From a 1st semester Algebra class – Systems of Equations:
- Find the value of circle, triangle and square and explain how you know.
From a 2nd semester Algebra class and a 3rd Year Class – Quadratics:
- Which form of a quadratic function is most useful? Defend your choice.
- Create two (or more) quadratic functions for each situation:
- Same two roots, no other points shared.
- Same y-intercept, no other points shared.
- Same vertex, no other points shared.
- Team A is the Gray circle. Team B is the blue circle. Graph Team A and write the equation for Team B. If Team A won, what might the contest have been? What if Team B won? Is there a contest which they would tie?
From a Geometry Class – Probability:
- There are 10 students. 3 names are chosen. Write a situation that would involve:
- A permutation
- A combination
- Where each pull is independent.
Most of the time, its a quick 5 minute end of class task. Sometimes I give them more time to create more involved problems, solution guides, and rubrics. It still doesn’t take up much time, gives me an idea of how confident the students are with the material, and gives the students more ownership of the class. The first time a quiz was all student submitted questions, they were grinning while doing the quiz. I don’t think they believed I’d use them. For most students its a point of pride to see his or her question used and I’d careful to make sure they’ve all been chosen a few times.
I’d love to hear from others that have students help with the assessment process. Ideas, resources, readings… I want to go into next year and be even more intentional about student led assessment.