Students Must Own Learning & Assessment | Dean Shareski

“We can’t ask students to move to personal learning and then have us as their teachers own the assessment.” – Dean Shareski

digital learning

Dean Shareski Digital Learning Consultant and author of the Ideas and Thoughts blog, of Moose Jaw, SK, Canada believes that school and learning must transform. We must put students in charge of their own learning. As he puts it, the real-time, read/write, social web is “making this more of a reality and possibility than ever before”. He echoes the sentiments of last week’s blogger of the week, Aaron Eyler in his efforts to liberate student evaluation and assessment.

Personalized Learning Environments

In his most recent post, Personalized Assessment Shareski considers what personalized assessment and evaluation might look in personalized learning environments. He outlines two forms of personalized learning environemnts- putting learning in the context of student passions and interests, and giving students “unprojects” as described by middle school math teacher Chris Harbeck. Click the unprojects link to view his video, it’s worth it!

These environments require teachers to step back and set students free, allowing them to explore and determine their own level of mastery. As Harbeck describes in the video, “students stop being mirrors and become amplifiers”. Instead of reflecting and regurgitating content, students produce, remix, and add value to content. “Content and skills are not end products but raw materials which students learn to work with and share.” Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Personalized Assessment

Once teachers can get over the initial shock of not having complete control, and once students get over the shock of not being told precisely what to do – “all students achieve more than expected”.

Shareski understands that certain expectations need to be a part of learning. He suggests that the key to personalized learning is to build in “feedback loops”. He states, “Whether it comes from you, their peers or outsiders, the learning needs to be done in such a way that there is lots of opportunity to revise, edit and refine. Putting this work online seems like a no-brainer in facilitating that.”

Last, Shareski suggests a unique form of personalized evaluation and assessment – allowing students to determine some of the grade weighting. For example, if students complete 3 unprojects – consider allowing them to “place more emphasis on one assessment that they felt (best) reflected their energy and time.” Be sure to check out his post for a more detailed description.

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