Assessment in education is used to enhance learning experiences.
It is not just merely check of facts memorization. I believe authentic assessment is the key to students’ improvement which provide more useful feedback. Authentic assessment is model of assessment that helps students apply their learning in the real world context. The examples of authentic assessment that I used in my school is social research paper. I chose research because of these reasons.
First, research help students do what they love.
By doing something they choose to do, we give them freedom and autonomy to express and explore what they do in research. Research helps students to be responsible on what they have chosen. In addition, research open students’ eyes for career opportunities in doing what they love.
Second, this kind of assessment gives the students the opportunity to ‘live’ an actual challenges and process of life.
What kind of profession that are not doing research? I believe nothing. Everyone who want to be professional in their profession do research. Even though, you work as janitor, you need to do simple research, how you could make the room cleaner. You ask questions and you find the answer based on your literature review, experiences, data, and reflection. I believe this kind of skills is required to face actual challenges of status quo in life. Many people are trapped in the status quo that make them stop wondering and questioning. When you do that, you just live an empty life. Research help students to experience the process of real life of curiosity.
Third, research help students to learn and apply from what they do.
Research help students learn deeper, solve problems, and initiate solutions that can make a difference. Grant Wiggins said “In the real world, that’s how we learn and are assessed: on our ability to learn from results.” Wiggins claimed that “A good education makes knowledge, skill, and ideas useful. Using research paper, students don’t only gain useful knowledge, but they also gain new and actual skills that could be applied directly in the field they do research.
I would like to share the implementation of research for student assessment.
In my school, I teach social sciences research class. I used an LMS Schoology to manage students research, share resources and discuss with the students. I think LMS has helped our class doing research flexibly and effectively. I guided students since the very beginning when they are deciding my topics. Since, the students are in social science major, they are asked to choose which strand they want to explore the most. I led students discussion to do brainstorming what they like the most for their research paper. Initially, it’s difficult to determine their research problem. Perhaps, it’s the most challenging part in doing research. They change research topic for many times. But, finally after a month, they decided their own topic. Then, the research paper goes from seeking background, literature review, research method, data collection and analysis, and conclusion. Students consistently consult their paper to their supervisor and me as the head of supervisors. Subsequently, students need to present their research paper individually before two teachers and several students in a class.
We assessed students paper using five aspects: content, format, analysis, presentation, and defense skills.
By assessing the content of paper, we want to check students basic understanding of what they write. Format criteria also assess student accuracy and neatness of presenting their research. Analysis help students and teacher think critically of their own research paper. Then, presentation and defense criteria empower students communication skills in sharing their research paper. So, we did an oral examination test that place students in the place of university students who want to defend their thesis. It’s highly breathtaking experience for students. They do rehearsal, ask questions, debate a topic, and criticize their friend’s idea. It’s rewarding experiences with this assessment.
Finally, based on those criteria, we would realize how powerful research as student assessment. All those standard we expect students to achieve is not just merely theoretical. It’s relevant, engaging, and contextual in this 21st century learning.
Everyone who want to be professional needs to be critical, creative, collaborative, and communicative (4C of 21st century learning). This is how research assessment is one of the best assessment you need to choose.
Wiggins, G. (2006). Healthier Testing Made Easy: The Idea of Authentic Assessment . Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/authentic-assessment-grant-wiggins on June 12, 2014.