Curation as Assessment
Part I. Assessment Philosophy
How can I best assess the beautiful projects my students write in WordPress, Picktochart, and iMovie?
- Student Generated Criteria:Over the course of a unit collaborate with students on criteria. This often begins with recognizing the criteria we apply to close reading of primary text and project models. For instance, “what elements constitute a successful infographic?” then translates into “what elements do you need to include to write a successful infographic?”
- Two-Tiered Criteria: A two-tier assessment splits the assignment into a baseline set of criteria and an aspirational set of criteria. When students meet the baseline criteria they earn a B, and if they show that they attempted to meet the aspirational criteria they can earn a higher grade. Notice, students need only show they attempted to meet some or all of the aspirational criteria. Two-tier grading allows students to become proficient in basic digital writing skills, while also risking more complex techniques without fear of penalty.
- Reflection Essays:Typically, I ask my students to reflect on their writing projects in terms set out by the project itself. In the Taming of the Shrew Infographic assignment, for instance, the reflective essay asked students to address, “How has this project changed your expectations of Shakespeare’s use of visual imagery?”
- Formative V. Summative Feedback: In order to ensure my students write in process, I offer feedback over the course of a project that allows to students to revise projects in a way that encourages students to develop deliberate practice. That is, assessment should ideally help students to set and meet criteria they establish for themselves during the course and beyond its boundaries.
Part II. Discussion
Take a few minutes to read and think through the following and we can chat about your responses before moving on to the tools.
- What are some difficulties you encounter in assessing multimedia or born digital student writing? Do you have successful assessment strategies you would like to share?
- How do you reward students for taking risks in their projects, while also ensuring that grading criteria remains transparent and consistently applied?
- Do you try to interact with the work your students produce as not only a rater, but a reader?
Part III. Don’t Rate, Curate!!
Thesis: While applying the assessment philosophy described above, I am still unable to interact with student work as a typical user. That is, if I am reading student projects to ensure they meet benchmarks and to suggest ways the texts may be developed, I am not using the site or graphic in ways students intended. So the question becomes, what is lost when we read student projects as raters and how can we change the ways we interact with student projects? Last semester, I started to use curatorial tools to change my relationship to my students’ work, while also ensuring they fulfilled the required criteria. To create a gallery of student work, I have to navigate through their sites and download the texts I plan to curate. In order for the curatorial software to work, students have to produce their texts in the format required.