CEP 811 Final Reflection – Assessing Creativity

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As an educator charged with assessment of student learning, I would assess creative problem solving during maker-inspired lessons in the following ways…

After reading Wiggins this week I have already caught myself stressing creativity in my classroom. My students and I have been working on writing narratives about their moms. There wasn’t a rubric for this assignment. We did review organization of narrative writing before hand. I encouraged them to use sensory detail and concrete descriptions, but was relatively open ended. Several students had a story to tell and set out to make a great gift for their mother on Mother’s Day. As expected I had a few students struggle to start or write a few sentences and call it done. As I was conferencing with these quick finishers I found myself talking about creativity and engagement with them. Is it boring? Will it make mom cry? In this ungraded assignment creativity and engagement became the only assessment. These students were able to quickly look at their story and realize that it wasn’t very creative and needed some revision to make it great. This was so much better than having students ask me ten times how many sentences or paragraphs they were required to write. Going forward I plan to use creativity and engagement as criteria for future writing assessment. Looking over my district writing assessments the rubric are in teacherease that few of my fellow educator can really understand much less my fourth graders. These rubrics have to be translated into kidspeak that will make them useful to kids. Furthermore I plan to design and create lesson that require students to collaboratively solve problems. James Gee talks about how the current model of schooling is going away and that schools will have to become places that stress collaboratively problem solving. (2008 Gee) So as I design assessment the end result and the ability to acquire skills and information that are directly related to a task or creation (making things!) is the big idea. All those little things along the way should be connected to a creation.

Looking at my current curriculum I am reminded of Isselhardt’s comments on project based learning. (Isselhardt 2013) They didn’t realize how important it was to explain and in a sense sell students on a project. Up front explaining where we are going will give purpose to my assessment. During my last science project students were given a rubric with very basic guidelines. While I left it open to creativity I didn’t have exemplars to share. I also didn’t sell them on it very well. In the end some students made creative projects and others just got by. My next wrubric will add elements of creativity using questions like: Is it engaging? Does it make people stop and look? Does it relay information in an interesting way? Sending the right message. (Wiggins 2012)

 

The design of these assessments is justified by the following connections to learning theories,and or to the ideas presented by Wiggins Isselhardt, and Gee…

 

We have to design better rubrics…

 

“If rubrics are sending the message that a formulaic response on an uninteresting task is what performance assessment is all about, then we are subverting our mission as teachers.” – Grant Wigginswiggins

We have to design schooling differently…

 

“What’s next is schooling that stresses problem solving, but not just problem solving. But doing it collaboratively so that you can work in a group where the group is smarter than the smartest person in the group.” – James Paul Gee gee

 

We have to bring the kids along with us…

“How we introduce the project to students is much more important than we thought (and we thought it was very important).” – Eric Isselhardt

isselhardt

Citations:

Isslehardt, E. (2013, February 11). Creating Schoolwide PBL Aligned to Common Core [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/PBL-aligned-to-common-core-eric-isslehardt

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/

Gee, J. P. (2010, Jul y 20). James Paul Gee on Grading with Games. Edutopia’s Youtube Channel.  [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU3pwCD-ey0#t=64

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