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Don’t wield outcomes like a
weapon. Learning and teaching are about inhabiting the present not the future, letting our possible paths evolve as we do. Photo by flickr user 55Laney69
We haven’t been nearly imaginative
enough with outcomes. I want outcomes like “for us to have an epiphany” or “for students to do something I couldn’t anticipate.” Photo by flickr user Giovanni Arteaga
12 Questions I ask myself
when creating an assignment 1. What are my primary goals for students with this assignment?! 2. How do my goals for this assignment intersect with my broader teaching philosophy?! 3. What tools that I already use (analog or digital) could help me achieve these goals?! 4. In order for this activity / class to work, what gaps do I need to fill with other tools / strategies?! 5. Is my idea simple enough? What can I do to streamline the activity? ! 6. What is my goal beyond this assignment / course? How will the activity (and my pedagogy) evolve?! Bring students into design as early as possible making the work about their goals and not just our own. ! 7. Go back to step 1 and work through steps 1-6 again (and likely several times).! Consider the next steps “below the fold”, because assessment should never drive our pedagogies.! 8. Does this activity need to be assessed? Or does the activity have intrinsic value?! 9. Is there a way to organically build the assessment into the assignment itself?! 10.What additional assessment strategies should I use? External summative assessment should be a last resort.! 11.What is my goal in assessing student work? Is my assessment enhancing student learning?! 12.Go back to step 8. Particularly, reconsider the question: Does this activity need to be assessed?
“Too often, faculty design pedagogy
around the worst-case scenario and then apply that pedagogy to every student."! ~ Janine DeBaise, “Best Practices: Thoughts on a Flash Mob Mentality”! Photo by sciencesque
Bring students into the conversation
as early as possible by having them collaborate on the syllabus, outline the objectives of the course, design activities and assessments, etc. Photo by Jan Plogmann
Don’t feel like you have
to meet all the goals during the first attempt — think of the process, from the start, as iterative with student goals ultimately supplanting our own. Photo by flickr user Matthias Rhomberg
Outcomes for an assignment emerge
over time through the work of each group of students. If I articulate outcomes too clearly at the start, students are less able to articulate them. Photo by luca savettiere
Consider the next steps “below
the fold”, because assessment should never drive our pedagogies. Rather, good assessment is driven by good pedagogy. Thus, I continue by asking myself: Photo by flickr user Patrick Smith
Teachers often grade in many
more situations than grading is actually required. We should avoid with a gusto any impulse that turns students into mere columns in a spreadsheet. Photo by flickr user twinkabauter
"When students struggle for excellence
only for the sake of a grade, what we see is not motivation but atrophy of motivation."! ~ Peter Elbow, “Grading Student Writing: Making It Simpler, Fairer, Clearer”! Photo by Kalexanderson
Go back to step 8.
Particularly, reconsider the question: Does this activity need to be assessed? (12)
“A class is … an
independent organism with its own goal and dynamics. It is always something more than what even the most imaginative lesson plan can predict.”! ! ~ Thomas P. Kasulis, “Questioning” Photo by Praline3001