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The PBL way of Innovative Assessments

21ST Century learning has achieved a paradigm shift in the education system, fostering complex skill sets like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and decision making and problem-solving. Since developing these skills are becoming a central part of our teachings, the need to understand how to assess these skills has become equally important.

So the current approaches to assessing and evaluating these skills have to be redefined as well.

Vega schools, ranked by Educationworld (2020-21) among The Top 5 schools in Gurgaon, focuses on engaging its learners in complex, non-routine activities to face the changing global phenomenon. The skill that is needed to develop is therefore complex and non-routine hence our assessment process is designed in such a way that we are continuously improving our learners and instructor’s performance.

Our goals for the Assessment process are:

  1. Learners be able to demonstrate  what they have learned
  2. The final project/product should be able to reflect the content knowledge that they have learned
  3. Identify gaps in understanding
  4. Help with the individual needs
  5. Learners should be able to reflect on their choices, article and define their choices

Our Problem-based learning pedagogy is a child-centric, inquiry-based instructional model in which learners engage with an authentic, “messy” problem that requires further research in order to get to a reasoned solution. Learners identify gaps in their knowledge, conduct research, and apply their learning to develop solutions and present their findings.

In this blog, we will discuss different ways students can be assessed on their learning while engaged in the PBL process. Since PBL employs many different types of learning, how learners can be assessed, can vary. Appropriate assessors include faculty members, student, peers, and self reflection.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT

The first type of assessment followed by Vega Schools is Formative assessment. It is a continuous on-going process in the improvement cycle of the learners where we evaluate how a learner is handling and internalising the material throughout the course.

Common formative assessments include Games, group work, projects, quizzes, and presentation

Basics Features of Formative Assessment

  • Done on a regular basis.
  • Doesn’t need to be paperwork-a quick in-class game or show and tell activities can be used to evaluate student/s progress
  • Learning leaders have the flexibility to assess students
  • The assessment activities keep learners engaged while sticking to the syllabus
  • The ongoing process helps the teachers to evaluate their teaching process.
  • Formative assessment’s goal is to monitor students’ learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by teachers to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning.
  • The evaluation includes a small part of the content

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT

This form of assessment evaluates the performance of the learners towards the end of the course. 

Features of summative assessment

  • It assesses the exact information the learner has learned by recounting what they have learned in form of tests, half-yearly or final exams, reports, and end-of-class projects.
  • The assessment tests are created to understand the learners’ total understanding of the class material.
  • It tries to evaluate the student’s long term knowledge.
  • Learners have to do some serious reflecting and critical thinking to bring together the information from an entire course.
  • It prepares the students for the next class/session
  • The final combination of the results/grades with the rest of the class helps gauge the progress of every learner.
  • The goal is to evaluate learners at the end of the session by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.
  • The evaluation includes complete chapters or content Areas.

Formative assessment can be used to look at the progress in student learning and summative to evaluate what they have learned as a whole. By the end of the class, it will give the student a great understanding of what they have learned and let us know how well we are doing in conveying the information to them

STUDENT LED CONFERENCE

The third type of assessment is the STUDENT LED CONFERENCE at  Vega schools, one of the best schools in Gurugram where it is the learners who present their learning to their parents. In an SLC role are reversed with the parents being the students and the learner being the teacher (Learning Leader)The student explains to their parents what they have achieved, strategies utilised for understanding various concepts, application of the same in real-life scenarios. It usually happens at the end of the course where the learner takes ownership of his learning and presents a portfolio or project report. .It is with this confidence that skills such as articulation, presentation, collaboration, analytical and more such skills needed for the real world are displayed at SLCs.

Features of SLC

  1. The student facilitates the meeting from start to finish.
  2. The learners engage in their achievement and progress, strength, weakness, and take ownership of its results leading to which they develop skills like planning, responsibility, self_reflection, communication and most importantly critical thinking 
  3. SLC fosters parent’s involvement
  4. Learning leaders also get an insight on how to make the learning environment more effective for their students.
  5. SLC promotes collaboration between home and school
  6. Placing the onus of responsibility on the student to explain his or her progress helps students, including the struggling learners, get a view of their learning progress and develop accountability necessary for them to improve or to sustain academic success.

What does a typical SLC look like?

  • A day is fixed in advance and parents are notified
  • Parents visit the school on the scheduled day to attend the SLC
  • The child welcomes his/her parents and invites them into the class
  • Briefly explain the format and objectives of the student-led conference, reminding the family to save questions for the end.
  • Shows the portfolio of work to provide evidences of their achievements and struggles during this meeting.  and progress reports to the parents and discusses in detail in the presence of the teacher
  • Does some activities/games with the parents to show how learning happens in the class
  • Ask parents if they have any questions.
  • Gives the parents a feedback form to fill up and thank them for coming

We at Vega Schools, top schools in Gurgaon,  want our learners  to take the initiative to guide their own learning by discussing what they need to succeed as well as to be able use tangible examples from their learning to determine and monitor their learning goals. One way to do this is through student-led conferences.

PROJECT EXHIBITIONS

The final technique to evaluate progress and ensure the success of our learners at Vega Schools,one of the good schools in Gurgaon is through Project Exhibition. It is a high stake demonstration of mastery that occurs at the end of the school sessions where learners present their learning information of a project, essay, art and craft, display of models. Project exhibitions are also a part of the summative assessment but the process of building up to a final exhibition includes ongoing assessment, feedback, reflection and revision. It is mainly the illustration of the practical application of the knowledge –focusing on DOK 4 level.

Project exhibitions enable children to immerse themselves in real life problem solving and learning, rather than experience one way lectures. It ensures that they learn in ways that closely resemble how they will work in future businesses and jobs of the future. It also equips them with the very skills that will be required to make them successful in the real world.]

 Features of Project Exhibitions

  • Learners start preparing for it during the starting of the session and they keep on updating it during the learning process.
  • Number of Project Exhibitions depend on the age of the learner and the time devoted depends on the learner again.
  •  It is presented by children divided into groups.
  • Exhibitions require students to speak publicly, present evidence, utilise engaging visual displays when explaining and otherwise demonstrate mastery to educators, peers, and others from outside the everyday school community.
  • Projects allows students to demonstrate a variety of skills including communication, technical, interpersonal, organizational, self-management, problem-solving, and decision making skill

Project work challenges students to think beyond the boundaries of the classroom, helping them develop the skills, behaviours, and confidence necessary for success in the 21st-century. Project Designing creates environments that help students question, analyze, evaluate, and extrapolate their plans, conclusions, and ideas, leading them to higher–order thinking.

To understand how the iLead Cycle,( created by Dr. Steven Edwards, Co-Founder, of Vega Schools, top 10 schools in Gurgaon), was used to teach the concept of Shape to our learners and how they were evaluated at the end, please visit our blog https://vega.edu.in/shapes/ dated 19th November 2020.

Our children are taught to think laterally and out of the box differently and  perform differently. We can standardized tests from now until forever but we can’t standardize children. We are always seeking out ways to develop their unique skills and perspectives through engaging assessment and evaluation programs to foster DEEPER LEARNING. Our aim is to ensure that the learners learning curve moves forward at their own pace, using teaching and assessment strategies that are adapted to individual learners.