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Evaluation Tools

Evaluation Tools

Author: Kathleen Johnson

In this lesson, you will learn about the various types of evaluation tools that are used in CBE.

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Today, we're going to be looking at a number of different evaluation tools. And for today's lesson, I've chosen a quote by Winston Churchill-- "True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation." By the time we're done with this lesson, you are going to be able to investigate those various evaluation tools.

So CBE evaluation tools really help promote assessment by providing the ways that we can describe the various student levels of competencies. So what we're looking at here are ways to help show students what it is that they are learning and then how well they have met or shown mastery within those various competencies.

Also, rubrics and various scales, which we're going to talk about a little bit later, are used to really help measure a student's progress towards that standard. So within competency-based education, rubrics and scales are really useful to show that progress and to measure the progress towards mastery of a certain competency.

Also, a really cool thing about the evaluation tools within CBE is that they can be performed by both students and by teachers. So they can be self-evaluations, which tends to be a lot more common with older students within CBE, or they can be performed by the teacher.

Now I want to go ahead and start talking about a couple of different tools that you can use when evaluating students. The first is a checklist. So checklists are really those lists of either skills or behaviors or tasks, a lot of those understandings that the teacher can really use to kind of list out and then mark off whether or not they are present or the student is exhibiting each of those elements that you've listed on your checklist. Checklists are used really to measure if a competency or part of a competency has been met or not met. It's really just acknowledging that the skill is present.

So they tend to be very broadly based. They don't measure how well you've met that skill, but rather, is it there or isn't it there. So what I want to talk about is now when a checklist is going to be most useful to you. And overall, what you want to know is that, in general, the checklists tend to be best used when competencies are very simple and straightforward. So when you are only interested in presenting whether or not a skill is there or not there, the checklist is what you're going to want to use.

They really help to identify whether or not those key tasks have been completed and help you to determine whether or not the basic skills are present. So when we look at the process of assigning or assessing within evaluation tools, it's really helpful for you to start with that checklist to get kind of a broad, overarching sense. So if I am talking about looking at a student's work within a paper-- I want them to write a paper analyzing the differences between the film version of Macbeth and the play version of Macbeth.

I might say, the checklist of what I'm going to be looking for are, first and foremost, do you cite strong evidence? Do you provide unique examples? Do you have sophisticated language? Is your organization strong, so does each paragraph include a topic sentence? And are there no glaring errors when it comes to mechanics?

That's just a checklist. I can go right down, and I can say, examples, yes; evidence, check; sophisticated language, check; organization, check; no mechanical errors or no glaring mechanical errors, check. And now I've done that and I've gotten an overarching idea of where the student is. Checklists can also be helpful in formative assessments, or as students are working towards that final project, to really assess where they are and where they're going.

Next, I want to talk about proficiency scales. Now, proficiency scales really argues to assess the degree to which those skills and those behaviors have been mastered. So whereas with checklists we're doing a simple yes or no, with a proficiency scale, we're looking at the level to which the student is engaging with each of those areas. So it's important to note that within proficiency scales, you want to make sure that each element that you are assessing a student on outlines those different levels of mastery so that we're able to kind of take a look at how those would look.

Now, all of those can be labeled or worded. They can be labeled by numbers or with words. So you could go from weak to strong. You could go from never to always, or novice to proficient, or strongly agree to strongly disagree. All of those are opportunities for use within proficiency scales.

Now, proficiency scales tend to be most useful when we're looking at the idea of tracking how well a student has mastered a particular skill or evaluating their progress within a very specific competency. They tend to be a really good fit when students are self-assessing, because it lays out all of the different options. If you just give a student a checklist, chances are pretty good they're going to say, yeah, I have it, even if you would establish that maybe they don't. So they can assess the varying degree to which they have completed that competency.

Also, for you as a teacher, proficiency scales tend to provide a lot more detail, so you can get really detailed in when you focus on the feedback that you want to give a student. Based on that checklist that we just did, I want to go ahead and show you a sample proficiency scale that really expands upon that checklist.

So here is a sample proficiency scale within the same area as what I discussed with the checklist. So this is a film and play comparison evaluation for the play Macbeth. And you'll notice here that I have content, style, organization, and mechanics down across the left side, but there's also those various levels. So I have level 3 here, which I've indicated as proficient. Below that is approaching adequate or revise-- you don't meet enough of these standards to make this an actual complete document. And then even above proficient, we have excellent.

So there's is an example. And you can see that we break down, using very similar parallel language as we go through, the various types of how a student can meet each of those areas.

Next, I want to focus in on the types of rubrics one can use. So rubrics are the third major type of evaluation tool that tend to be really helpful. And when we talk about types of rubrics, we're really looking at evaluation tools that include one or more very specific criteria and then different levels of achieving that. Rubrics and proficiency scales can look very, very similar, but there are different types of rubrics one can use.

So the first type is an analytic rubric. And in an analytic rubric, you're really seeing a grid that has one criteria for the student that's listed in, usually, the leftmost column, and then the levels of performance that are listed across the top row, so with descriptive tags. So in here, in an analytic rubric, you're really only focusing in on one specific area that you are going to look at for each individual section.

So we're going to focus in first on content. We're going to focus in second on mechanics. So an analytic rubric really gets down and deep and specific with what a student is doing.

The next type is what's called a developmental rubric. And developmental rubrics are really focusing in on a particular subset of analytic rubrics. So it's a type of rubric based within an analytic rubric. And the main distinction between a developmental rubric and an analytic one is that developmental rubrics are meant to evaluate a student mid-work. So it's not the summative product or the end result, but really looking at how the student is progressing kind of mid-project.

And finally, we have the holistic rubric. A holistic rubric is really just a single scale with all of the criteria that are considered together. In a holistic rubric, as opposed to a analytic rubric, you're really basing your score, which is usually a 1 to 4 or 1 to 6 point scale, on an overall judgment of the student work.

Now, when is it best to use those analytic rubrics or the holistic rubrics? Well, rubrics in general tend to be best when evaluation criteria can be especially complex. So if we're evaluating the strengths and weaknesses within a given competency and the purpose is not to just give an overarching view but really to provide that student with the specific feedback for their understanding and learning, then you're going to want to use the rubrics. And the beauty of rubrics is that there are many different types that you can use to help focus in and give students that solid feedback based on what it is that they're learning.

Now that we've reached the end of the lesson today, you have been able to investigate some of those various evaluation tools. Now that we are done, I want you to take just a moment to reflect on the various evaluation tools we looked at. And tell me, which one do you think would be the easiest fit within the type of teaching you have and the type of students that you work with?

For more information on how to apply what you've learned in this video, please view the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The Additional Resources section is going to include hyperlinks that are really useful for application of the course material, including a brief description for you for each resource.

Notes on "Evaluation Tools"

(00:00-00:12) Intro

(00:13-00:19) Objectives

(00:20-01:31) Overview of Evaluation Tools

(01:32-03:57) Checklists

(03:58-06:39) Proficiency Scales

(06:40-09:16) Rubrics

(09:17-10:00) Review & Reflection

Additional Resources

Not Available at This Time