Tuesday, March 30, 2010

FLE4 Assessment--How is it possible?

It is immediately improbable, thinking about using a classroom discussion as a tool for significant assessment (read: grading) for individuals.  What would a teacher look at to assess 'the standards'?
  1. Number of posts?  Artificial, though productivity is important, but not at the expense of significance of participation.  I'd hate for students to try to up their post-count at the expense of quality/significance/authenticity of posts.
  2. Types (that is, knowledge types) of posts?  This is interesting, it attests to how a student can participate in a knowledge building discussion.
  3. Concepts correctly used in posts?  Well, on the surface this seems like a good metric.  However, what really counts is how someone's idea, whether correct or not, initiates or advances a scientifically significant dialog.  And, scientifically incorrect posts often start important knowledge-improvement dialogs.  I don't want to discourage students sincere participation by not recognizing or downgrading these posts.  Just as there truly are no, 'stupid questions'  nor is there a 'stupid comment' as long as they are sincerely made.  Not to say that there are no anti-productive comments that shut down sincere participation.
  4. Range of correctly used concepts? While this is nice metric to know, and a student who knows a broad range of science concepts is an asset to a knowledge building community, is this our only or even highest goal for students in a community of scientists?  Also, since assessments guide student participation, one must be careful about creating simple criteria like this--it would most likely restrict the range of participation as people look for opportunities to produce grade-increasing comments, not authentic knowledge building.
  5. Bringing in personal question to the dialog?  This is an important metric, but it is obviously hard to measure, and certainly isn't the most important factor.
Is it impossible to use this tool to 'grade' student knowledge? I don't think so but more must be considered...

1 comment:

  1. There is a new tool to analyse the discussion: Polyphony based system for collaboration analysis and feedback generation see www.ltfll-project.org