Viewing 39 reply threads
    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Learners often work really hard on their reports, but some reports will be stronger than others. How do you envision going about assessment of inquiry-based projects in your program? Please use the comment box below to share any reflections on assessment-related issues you’re thinking about.
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Anna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      akleinsorge
      Working with students on long term projects I find it's hard sometimes to assess the final project, because as a teacher I'm helping students along the way.  Students who struggle will receive support along the way to make sure they are moving on the right path, whereas other students won't need as much support.  At the end sometimes it's hard to look at the project  and assess just it because I know how much assistance each student needed or didn't need.  I think on my rubric my number scale will incorporate the amount of teacher assistance needed to be successful.  That way at the end hopefully most students will have met most of the requirements of the report, but I will be able to mark on the rubric if the student was able to produce the results with or without assistance.
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Banjojanie
      I think the use of rubrics is very appropriate for project based learning. Peer feedback would also assist with evaluation of the project. Constructive feedback could be used by the student to improve the project prior to final evaluation used for final grade. An aside on rubrics- The quality of the rubric influences the quality and helpfulness it has as an evaluation tool. I think the rubric format used as the Assessment Rubric for 4th Grade Reports was the best.  Criteria were clear. The scale was specific. The format of the rubric was easy to use.  The teacher project rubric was the most difficult to use. It lead me to use more subjective, rather than objective decisions about overall scoring.
    • Beverly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      bschieman
      I think that the rubrics that we utilized during the quiz show that a strong foundation of the inquiry elements we discussed form the backbone of any kind of investigation.  These can also be directly taught.   All three rubrics focused mainly on the structure of the inquiry as well as the integration and reasoning behind each element.  If this is adhered to, assessment can be fair and carry over to other experiments, allowing the students to see patterns not just within inquiries, but across them as well.
    • Deanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      DeannaW
      I want to use more rubrics in class. when I do use them on projects the students are more open to creative solutions... sometimes they will prove to me why they chose to be assessed in that way. It always boild down to time -- when grading 350 student the time for each assignment is sprse. Incorporating more peer reviews will help with the process along with self evaluations on the rubrics.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      CoachGoody17
      My issue is I tend to grade everything. Which isn't necessarily valuable feedback. I know that I need to scale back on what I am grading and start truly assessing the process and skills being used. I plan to use these materials and build a portfolio during the process. My hope is that by the end of the semester, there will be at least one class investigation and one individual investigation. During that process, I would like to be focusing on writing skills, experimental design and brainstorming, variables and graphs, (how to read and which to use), research skills, and presentation skills. I am still mapping it out but in the end I would like to build a website, submit to bird-sleuth investigator, and possibly create a magazine which compiles their investigations, nature journaling, and creative writing as well.
    • Julia
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      j.hardy
      Each year I hold a poster contest for 5th graders based on a theme. Students are to research the theme in some way and create a poster. I can use a rubric to assess the creativity of the poster, the amount of information shown on the poster can indicate how much accurate information the student collected and learned, and how well their creativity and information on the poster can inspire action upon others.
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      allisonmurphy
      As an informal educator, I don't typically have opportunities to use rubrics or to grade the work of my students. I'd love to develop some kind of after school science club or camp where we would have more time to dive into report writing. Even if I didn't give out grades, having some form of a rubric would give the students a clear idea of what their project should look like and also give the students a chance for peer review, which I think would be the most helpful tool!
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      Pam Hosimer
      I thought the rubrics presented in this lesson were excellent. I have always been a supporter of using rubrics because they give students a clear guide for what they need to do and what information needs to be collected. This is valuable to students when they complete a project because it helps them to organize their thoughts and determine the best way to present the information. It also increases the chances for success for differently abled learners. I would use a rubric like these, or a variation of these depending on the project, to assess inquiry-based projects. As a mom of two differently abled learners I have experienced firsthand how hard it is for some students to be successful. A rubric is a great tool for all students to do their best work.
    • Sara
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      SaraPi
      Totally agree that students should be able to decide how they want to present their results. Of course that would require students to have equal access to resources, or require in-class time to create their presentation. I found the 6th grade rubric most helpful as it contained examples of what the student report would include for each point valuie. Seems like a comment box would be good, to offer tips and suggestions for students to strength their report.
    • Cara
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      carafern
      As a non-conventional teacher, it was really interesting to read the rubrics! I think it would be nice to develop a project that students/campers could work on outside of camp and then present after a summer of learning.
    • Nini
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      Ninich
      In Special Education, I think that my job as support staff may be in supporting the student understanding of the rubric and breaking it into manageable pieces that demonstrate their understanding of the subject.  I have observed for some students that how they feel about themselves influences their ability to ask questions.  I envision a lot of prompting to help get this process going.  I do think that a clear understandable rubric is a very important part of assessment which should be presented at the beginning of the project, but also revisited throughout the project.  I like the reflection piece which asks how the student could do better next time, isn't that an important goal for all learning?
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        Pam Hosimer
        Nini, I agree that a rubric is extremely important in helping Special Education students be successful. Revisiting the rubric to keep students on task throughout the process is a good idea for all students as are also issues of procrastination that often waylay the best of intentions.
    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Sylvia_Qualls
      For any level of inquiry-based project there does need to be formative, reflective and summative assessment. In initially starting out with any level of inquiry project formative assessment is helpful as a way to guide, support and help students understand what they are doing and how to frame it within the scope of an inquiry report. This means learning about the different facets of an inquiry project, documentation and how the entirety of the project is submitted as a project report. There is a lot of similarity to what is presentation for science fair projects. When students are initially taking up these types of projects I think it is important to have them engage in a reflective  self-assessment as a way of identifying their perception of how they think they did in terms of the rubric, what they did well, where they need to improve and what they learned through this process. I really like to create rubrics with students which often means they are a work in progress, but at the same time there are essentials that are part of the inquiry process and the variation in assessment may depend on the type of inquiry students engage in i.e. confirmation inquiry, structured inquiry, guided inquiry, or open inquiry. The elements of the rubric and assessment may differ in how they reflect any of these given types of inquiry. Also, this is a process that I want to be meaningful for my students to help them understand what is included and how to go about creating that.
    • Antoinette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      ahatzop
      At the first grade level, there are two assessments I like and find age appropriate and meaningful.  One is a nature journal the students have.  Students get very detailed as they sketch and label and have a lot to ask, wonder and record.  The other is a video recording.  We go outside to do an investigation and the students are paired.  They can take photos and then record on their shared iPad.  They may have questions and tell about what they have discovered.  Although we have not focused on rubrics, if we do, we would need to keep them simple.
    • Jackie
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      JackieScott
      This year we are considering having students record their presentation for science fair on Flipgrid and allow questions to be answered that way instead of in class presentations.   I have done posters before and it has been very successful for an invasive species project.
    • Nikki
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      mswallacexth
      I plan to use competencies to assess the students. These assess the process rather than the product. It also gives guidance on what mastery looks like so there are no gray areas. We also use team norming to determine the scores of major pieces of work.
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 41
      Acorn Woodpecker
      Assessment is a necessary tool used by formal educators to evaluate student understanding of classroom instructions. Inquiry based projects required different methods of  assessment that may not be simple or easy. Therefore, when doing inquiry based projects it is important to identify an assessment that supports this unique learning style.  Inquiry based projects give students a role in designing experiments. Students assume greater responsibilities in learning.  Students are not learning the same information in inquiry based projects, therefore standardized assessments are not applicable.  Many inquiry based projects are individualized so assessments must be individualized as well.  The rubrics shared in this unit are examples of how educators can make create some structure and definition to assess inquiry based projects.  Rubric are like road maps that help direct and lead students along a learning path.  Rubrics are objective and gives learners certain benchmarks to accomplish.  Benchmarks can measure student comprehension of the subject.  By assigning points for each benchmark, assessment is similar to grading.  Inquiry based projects allow students to deepen their knowledge of the subject beyond what typically is involved in a standard lesson.  When students create posters or presentations to explain  what they are learned, they are more invested in learning. Inquiry based project assessment can demonstrate what students actually know.  A rubric is a way to measure this learning. Although,  I  do not assess students as an informal educator,  I see when students are motivated to excel and grow in understanding.
      • Nini
        Participant
        Chirps: 32
        Ninich
        I really like your comment that rubrics are roadmaps that help direct student learning.  It helps them to see the expectation for the project and gives increments so they are able to focus on specific aspects of the expectations.  I think rubrics help scaffold the learners' understanding of how to do the project.
    • Phanh
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      phanhnguyen
      I will use rubric as a guide for the process as well as a tool for assessment. It would be great to have the students participate in building it, but I don't have experience with this yet and not sure how it'd go. We will review the rubric at each step along the way to help the students breaking the tasks down to better manage them. Besides, I'm thinking about trying to not use numbers but worded levels as final marks (for example: "need improvements", "meeting expectations", "exceeding expectations"...). Also, peer and adult reviews as suggested would be a great way for the students both as help but also to share their work. Lastly, I'd like to find ways to encourage students to see their improvements along the process, and not just the final products as the assessment for their learning.
    • Edna
      Participant
      Chirps: 26
      wvteacher87
      I think the key to success with student reports is starting with a rubric.  I always have students brainstorm in a whole group setting to develop the rubric.  They will be familiar with the expectations.  Also, peer review helps with students including all components when working with fourth graders.  When students read-aloud what they've written or have a classmate read the report can also help student identify misconceptions or missing information.
    • Alana
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      C.cyaneus
      In terms of assessment, it's always a challenging one, as comprehension is sometimes hard to gauge. The rubrics presented are wonderful. I thought having the other students provide feedback was also a good idea. It would be interesting to have a "speciliast" come in an provide an outside opinion/advice as well.
      • Edna
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        wvteacher87
        Great idea with inviting experts.  I even think some of the volunteers from our Science Fair Judging may be willing to provide advice or act as a sounding board if students want to delve deeper in an investigation.
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      Ladyhawk85
      I think even though a rubric may be used, grading (or judging) can oftentimes be subjective. I have been involved in all aspects of Science Fairs at local, county, and state levels. I think the feedback a student receives is more important than just the number or the grade. I often take the time to sit down with the student(s) and have them assess their project before the completion in front of me. Critiquing their project out loud is an important tool. They are more likely to look at it with a critical eye. I encourage students to talk about their projects with other teachers or staff members to get their feedback, throughout the inquiry process. Going through the rubric or assessment process, in the beginning, is fine but it has to be a continual process - every step needs assessing from the question to the conclusion. I encourage students to critique other students' writing or work. We go through the process of how to critique and offer valuable comments. Again, I really believe it is an ongoing process because then the student feels supported and has a better experience.
      • Edna
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        wvteacher87
        I agree.  The more a student shares his or her project, the more revealing the details.  Students can use feedback to improve his/her investigation.
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      jmckenna
      I think giving students choices of how they could present their results is important. Students could create videos, posters, PSA's or a traditional report to show learning. I think informal assessment throughout the time they are conducting their investigations is also very important. The rubrics I would use with my young students would be much simpler and the report would probably outlined or fill in the blank. Then after filling in the template, students would be given choice for how they would share their findings in a way that works best for them.
    • Kandis
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Kandis+1
      I was thinking through looking at the rubrics, that none of them allowed for anecdotal notes or comments, it was really hard for me not to comment on things I liked and what could use improvement.  As a 4-H educator we are all about the process and judging youth based on their years of experience in the project area and what they have learned through out the process.  Youth all have different learning abilities and I think it is very important to have meetings throughout the process to check understanding, this is a great way to ensure youth truly have an understanding of the topic and can make changes if necessary along the way.  I also think it is important to allow for a large variation of reporting, letting youth choose the best way to showcase their results.  If the assessment is based on whether their is understanding of a topic or the understanding of scientific method then trying to take down all other barriers is important.  Give youth as many opportunities as possible to show what they are learning.
      • Nini
        Participant
        Chirps: 32
        Ninich
        It is a gift to read these comments from different styles of educators.  Kandis, I like your comments about allowing for a large variety of reporting and letting them choose the best way to showcase their results.
    • Alaina
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      AlainaYoung
      Unfortunately, in my current role I don't foresee using any assessments of projects, but I will definitely make use of this information in the future! I feel confident with rubric assessments and I think that presentations are a great way to give kids ownership of their work and really ensure that they understand and can translate what they have done.
    • Smriti
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Smriti Safaya
      There are 4 key aspects I make sure to do for inquiry-based project assessments:
      • presenting a clear rubric of expectations: ENHANCE this exercise further by getting students to create parts or all of the rubric, and giving feedback for one to be finally used (this is an example of 'assessment as learning' as well)
      • breaking the larger task into sections/stages of the investigation process with their own completion dates to reduce stress and help students manage their time and expectations: ENHANCE this by getting students to translate these dates into their own calendars and have them make their own self-deadlines based on how they know they like to work or struggle with working.
      • have peer assessments & teacher feedback discussions along the journey, especially after a project section or two
      • evaluate their process, not just their product: at 3 points along the inquiry journey, students should be completing reflections - (1) near the start of the process which would address their initial thinking and plan; (2) after getting the data and considering what factors have impacted their data and how, and what they could do about it next time; (3) after the conclusion of the report: drawing out changes in their learning from start to finish, and what they've learned about themselves as an inquirer and their process of doing inquiry (self-resiliency skills, motivations, etc.); this makes a natural and significant part of their process shows that their effort is just as valuable and encourages students to produce their best work.  I give student agency over the form of their reflections, and keeping them easy to do is the best way to get authentic responses from students (often video or voice recording snippets for stage 1 & 2 reflections, teacher conversations and written responses for stage 2 and 3).  For each reflection there would be prompting phrases or questions for them to focus on.  Usually, I only formally evaluate the last rubric as part of the assessment for the inquiry project.
      • Kandis
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        Kandis+1
        I liked how you would involve students in creating the rubric.  This would give them input and a true understanding of what the teacher is looking to asses.
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      maroberts64
      Students will complete their projects at their different levels of learning, but I think that it is important that they do their best work. A rubric would be helpful for the student to stay on track and guide them on all necessary components: procedure. materials, data, presentation, etc. I also think that it would be beneficial to include a peer conference and a teacher conference as part of the project, and for the teacher (or some resource) to be available if the student needs assistance during their project. I like the option of using a video for presentation for students who may struggle with writing but shine on camera. Allowing students choices in presenting their information is a great way to keep students engaged to the product of their project.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      Curious621
      My Honors Biology students complete independent research projects so I am accustomed to assessing variable work.  I give a general rubric so they clearly know my expectations.  For example, for their log books I look for 20 specific criteria and this is easy for me to grade.  Their research papers also have a rubric but the quality varies much more. They have to meet a bare minimum and then differentiate themselves by their attention to detail and content.  I think I would do something similar for an inquiry-based project.
    • Annette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      AnnetteSteele
      Rubrics are important as they give students clear and concise directions about what is expected. That being said, just using a rubric at the end of a unit with final presentations does not offer students any type of formative feedback. Therefore,  a rubric is only as good as the times you actually use it. rubrics need to be reviewed at the beginning of the project, after each section has been completed and then used as  a summative report. Reviewing a rubric at the beginning and end of a project lets students know the expectations and how they will be graded. Reviewing each section of a rubric while the project is in progress  can be done using peer reviews, small student & teacher groups or one on one with a teacher. This enables the student to gain feedback to improve their project as they are working on it.
      • Jessica
        Participant
        Chirps: 27
        jmckenna
        I was thinking this too Annette. It is very important to visit the rubric throughout the investigation with the students.
    • Kathy Nerdy Birdies
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      kbalman
      I really like the idea of peer reviews and mentor reviews. I think something I would incorporate is a gallery walk of final projects, where peers and parents can provide constructive feedback, offer praises, etc. Because of my mixed-ages and skills and lack of time I am not sure I can incorporate rubrics just yet. Many of the children in my program have learning disabilities and would require a lot of help to write, etc. Personally, going through the inquiry process and making connections is the most important aspect of the program I lead and my main focus.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      amyeroche1
      I've had success using a rubric, similar to the fourth grade one shared here.  I also think it's important for students to have many "mentor" examples to look at.  They can practice grading these mentor inquiry projects the same way we did in the last lesson.
    • Veronica
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      vhorton
      Assessment has always been the hardest part of inquiry science for me because it takes me away from the doing part of the investigation. I tend to enjoy the doing and become stuck in that part of inquiry based teaching and learning even though assessing design, and what students have learned are important aspects and parts of the process. I feel that assessment is my weakest area when it comes to creating inquiry based investigation opportunities for students. This course has given some examples that I can use to strengthen my assessment skills with the use of rubrics as well as examples of how students can present their data via video.
    • Dianne
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      dhaley1
      Yes, I agree that learners often work hard on their reports, but some reports will be stronger than others.  I believe if you front load the expectations by providing a clear rubric, go over previous samples or exemplars and provide time to conference with each student will provide enough support for each student to find success.  I believe my students will be able to easily record the data, but I think they may have some issues on how to report the data.   I can see myself having a couple of lessons on how to take data and create graphs.  I also believe that for some of my students they will require accommodations by having different expectations and a different rubric.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      LauraYoung
      I will create a 4 point BAME rubric - beginning, approaching, meeting, exceeding -- that focuses on the research question, hypothesis, investigation procedure, and presentation of results. It's important for me to take into account the English language levels of my students, and for these reason I think most of the focus on language will go into the inquiry question, hypothesis, and brief analysis of results. My students are also new to graphing and data presentation, and since this is such an important skills I also want to focus on this in the rubric. For these reasons, I found the assessment rubric for 4th grade reports to be the most helpful.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      alrichardson
      I order to assess a student's understanding in an inquiry-based learning investigation I believe using a rubric would be the most clear solution.  Creating a rubric that depicts that child's age level will give students the information they will need to design and implement an experiment based on their question.  Students will also need the teacher to explain each individual section of the rubric, the point value, and give examples and nonexamples of (previous investigations or ones created by the teacher for samples) investigations.  In viewing these examples students will develop a better understanding of what the expectations are.  I really like the idea of having the students create some type of presentation.  Our district did an online training from our local AEA on utilizing the Seesaw app.  Seesaw is the way my building K-2 will be communicating with parents and students if we need to do online learning at any point during the upcoming school year.  I think this would be an excellent program for first graders to use to report their science discoveries whether they are doing the work at school or at home if distance learning is put into place.  Students could use this Seesaw app to draw pictures, take photographs with their tablets of their experiment and the data they collect, and they can record themselves with a video to explain their question, investigation, and results.  For students that do not feel comfortable video taping themselves, they could use just audio to add a conversation to the pictures that they upload.  Depending on the teacher's preference, these presentations that are added to each student's journal on Seesaw can be shared with the teacher only or can be shared with the class and student's families so all students can view and learn from each other.
      • Jessica
        Participant
        Chirps: 27
        jmckenna
        I LOVE Seesaw and this is a wonderful suggestion of how it could be used. I was thinking about creating a folder for each student that would be their investigation folder where they could keep track of all of their findings so it would all be in one place.
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        Sounds very cool.  I would like to know more.  Thank you.
      • Nini
        Participant
        Chirps: 32
        Ninich
        I like your commentary about Seesaw and think that it is very important to work with students to help them use it more completely so that when they are in a remote learning setting, it becomes the powerful tool for reporting out and sharing that it should be.  As I think back to this spring, I still worry about our students who are not as supported in the home as if in school, and how that influences their learning.  I hope that we as educators can find ways to support those situations more fully.
    • Johanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      jdelwood
      Using a rubric is extremely helpful with grading projects.  A rubric creates a more even approach to assessing projects.  Rubrics clearly communicate to students what will be assessed in the projects so that there are not any "surprises" for them.  I make myself available to students for assistance with their projects to answer questions or to let them bounce ideas off me as they are developing ideas for their project.
      • Laura
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        Curious621
        I agree- rubrics eliminate that element of surprise- students can easily see why they lost points where they did so it reduces complaints about grading.
    • Elisabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      evhartman
      While we may not be necessarily be creating projects in the traditional classroom/educational sense, if we do get to the point of doing some assessments on inquiry-based projects, the use of a well developed rubric will be key! It allows for a bit of wiggle room on interpretation but still provides a base line for the children on exactly what will be expected, and reminds us while overlooking the project what we are expecting too, helps focus in on that. I can see incorporating rubrics in a few things we do.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      NRGregory
      Clearly stated requirements, through an understandable rubric, is essential. No matter what the final product ( article, poster, video,etc.) students need to understand what is being asked of them. In class, discussions can be generated to help students see the importance of each part of the rubric.  I also see the importance of periodic assessments in regards to a large project.  This helps the students stay on track; chunking out the work also helps me as the teacher see which students need extra assistance to meet the rubric's assessment points and to offer more directed guidance to all.
      • Elisabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        evhartman
        Yes, chunking out the work as you put it is exactly what I was getting at, and good point that it allows us to see who may need more direction or guidance. The use of a rubric can really help get a student or project back on track!
      • Dianne
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        dhaley1
        Nancy, Yes, clear expectations is a must.  Thanks for bringing up 'chunking' this is very important for our young scientists to have information chunked and helps us with providing the needed scaffolding. Thanks!
    • Taylor
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      TSimon95
      I think that on of the key elements of assessment in inquiry-based projects is doing it throughout the process, and not just for the summative assessment. That way, students can receive a grade that reflects their learning throughout the process and not just how well they do on a single report. Anecdotal documentation is one way that I like to reflect student learning, as I can see how the students are developing over a period of time. Having learning goals that are clear and manageable are also important, so that all students can have a greater chance of success. Going over the learning goals with the students throughout the process and asking students about their own progress on them is a helpful strategy as well.
    • Liz
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      lsiepker
      I like to make learning relevant. And in doing so, I like to make the assessment relevant as well. Assessment should be less focused on grades or scores but what did the learner actually learn by doing the project? Criteria for assessment should look at elements such as creativity, data analysis, implementation, interpretation, and at the depth of knowledge level 3 or 4. In traditional grading systems there is a lot of emphasis on grades/scores and less on the actually learning take place. I understand why but I like to focus on authentic learning and what a student can actually tell me they have learned from doing something.
    • Holly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      hrdevault
      There are likely several different ways to create a good report, and these differences reflect the personalities of the kids. I really like the idea of using a rubric that clearly states what is expected for each outcome. There is a minimum that is required as well as a possibility of earning a very high grade because of excellence and creativity.
      • Amy
        Participant
        Chirps: 24
        alrichardson
        Holly, I agree that there are so many different ways for students to present their scientific discoveries that reflect their personality.  Some may want to create a poster, make a video, write an article, or even do an oral presentation.  Giving students flexibility and choice is so important in helping children stay focused and interested in a topic.  I also agree with you that rubrics are so important to give clear expectations and guidelines for students.  As always these rubrics can change and be altered if needed each year.
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