Who says a TEST OF KNOWLEDGE has to be an EXAM?

 

The Industrial Technology Timber scope and sequence for year 10 set from last year is crap. Yeah, that’s kind of harsh, but the over testing of repetitive outcomes, lack of diversity in tasks (folio, prac, exam, folio, prac, exam **repeat) and the minimal GAP between assessments has been driving me bonkers all year.

I spent AGES re-creating a year 11 Design and Technology assessment – with the focus of “making it real” – this task was so successful that the idea of issuing year 10 Timber students with a hour long test that replicated the content/outcomes in the half yearly was absurd! With the need for modified tasks to be issued, not all students could even access the test?  – – CUE teacher frustration!!

After an awesome chat with our Leader of Pedagogy a few weeks back about HOW I could get the diversity I wanted into a scope and sequence that was already set he said “Who says a TEST OF KNOWLEDGE has to be in the form of an EXAM?” – – – (clever guy our LOP, you should follow him on twitter! @MarkOConnor1976 )

examination_center

 

This is what I knew I wanted in a task:

  • I wanted to make an assessment that was UN-GOOGLABLE
  • An opportunity to apply subject knowledge in a real world contexts
  • Allow for self-driven practical experiences
  • Test plan reading/numeracy – been a real focus of improvement this term
  • Have OPTIONS that would test the same skills/knowledge but allow students to have some CHOICE in the assessment process/format

There are quite a few students in the course that receive modified assessments. Due to the nature of the course and the level of improvement students have demonstrated since year 9, they are gradually doing tasks that resemble a “full” assessment. HOWEVER, if a class test was issued in the format of multiple choice, short response and extended response was to be issued, they would NOT be able to complete it. Whilst writing the task, I kept those students in mind, knowing that many of them would be continuing with the HSC course and building confidence in presenting knowledge is important, more so than “practicing exam techniques”.

I have included the NEW task below, I would love your feedback, thoughts and maybe you could share what you do!

Task Description

task_6_yearly_test_2013

When writing re-writing the scope and sequence for next years year 10 Timber, I will take into the account that SO MUCH THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE is in the year 9 course, but not so much the year 10. Ideally I would like to RE-WRITE the WHOLE STAGE – balancing this out, but until a new cohort start year 9 I think this task is great. 

Advertisements

I want to make this syllabus content REAL!?

I always talk about how learning should be relevant, contextual and applicable to students lives. I always demonstrate how syllabus outcomes/content should link to real world stuff- so when students say “WHY are we learning this” there is a legitimate answer, OR, even better, the question isn’t asked- the link is THAT evident.

Tell my then, WHY do I have an assessment task scheduled for Preliminary Design and Technology that looks at design practice, designers and comparisons between their work in industry and what we do in school? WHY does the task ask for a written report that compares and contrasts designing and making when students DON’T get to have that experience? . . . oh jeez, I really can’t hand that task out?? . . . . REALLY?? :-/

Enter the NEW task!!

designers and their work

designers and their work2

So, what’s the difference? THIS task will allow students to DESIGN, MAKE, MAYBE FAIL? MAYBE SUCCEED? They will get to HAVE A GO AT BEING A DESIGNER- designing, making- selling. The premise being that they will NOW have some practice to compare their designer to! 

The hard parts in writing this task:

  • when we design and make we usually create a design folio- there is NO TIME for this process, an assumption has been made that the design process is ESSENTIAL and will be followed- therefore an evaluation could be conducted based on success and failures within each stage of the design process. SO this is how P2.1 will be assessed.
  • we DON’T have a laser cutter on site, I have liaised with another school (bribing teachers with coffees and goodwill) to allow me to produce students designs- this could ONLY be done during weeks 3/4 of term.
  • Students SHOULD be able to determine presentation methods determined by their audience. This is an important skill as designers. Yes report writing skills are important too, but that got scrapped so that students could choose presentation method, SO this is how P5.2 will be assessed.
  • They should be able to compare and evaluate the success of their designs to those of a real designers, BUT, WHAT IF THEIR DESIGNS DON’T SELL on market day?? . . . I have created a BUDGET SALES PROFIT table– so that as long as they set out to achieve a profit, they will still succeed. (NOTE: yes 20 marks is a lot for this section, marking criteria includes use of computer graphics and laser cutting technologies)
  • MATERIALS!!??? . . . I purchased all the findings in bulk from ETSY, and acrylic “scraps” from Australian Plastic Fabricators this kept costs down AND we have a variety of colours in the acrylic. All profits will go to support our World Youth Day travellers from Gilroy.
  • NO TIME FOR RESEARCH??!!! . . . I started a PINTREST board for students with bookmarks and links of relevant designers, illustrator tutorials, laser cutter videos/info. This should get them started! (and limit the time spent on this section so they can get to the good stuff quicker)
  • The need to UNDERSTAND design is important. There is still a section that analyses and evaluates a designers work, hopefully this wont be presented in a report format (as it doesn’t need to be) AND hopefully the experiences they gain in the practical side of the project enable this section to be much more rewarding than just reading a bio on the internet.

This task has taken HOURS of planning, research and co-ordination, but, HOW could I say I was making learning contextual and relevant from WITHIN a classroom? By handing out a research report???

Assessment tasks can be evil. This task, to me NOW seems real, with learning and skill development in mind. I hope this task allows students to PLAY the part of a designer, so they can better understand their role, what they do and the technologies and processes they use. This class is such a CREATIVE group, I couldn’t have possibly imagined stifling them with a “report”. I can’t wait to see what they come up with, what they will make and sell, and HOW this will inspire them to form a career pathway in design.

Bulk purchased findings