3 Evaluating the idea
The evaluation of an innovative assessment can only really take place after it has been delivered. It is at this point when an educator can determine whether the assessment helped the learners to more clearly demonstrate their knowledge and understanding, as well as other skills required for employment and success in society.
To help improve the process and evaluate the assessment more clearly it is advisable to:
- Ask an observer to compare an older method of assessment with the new method and consider the positives and negatives for both the teacher and the learner.
- Ask an internal and an external assessor to review your new innovative assessment and consider if your new approach meets the key learning outcomes of the curriculum.
- Engage your learners in a discussion surrounding the assessment and its use. When having this discussion, it is important to remember that you are the professional and ultimately the final decision is yours. However, achieving some level of buy-in from your learners through an element of negotiated learning and assessment allows them to take greater ownership.
- Ask learners to rate their understanding on a scale of 1 to 10 about the topic, where one is very little understanding and 10 is substantial understanding. Ask them to rate their understanding of the topic again after they have completed the assessment. Hopefully, this should be an increase in the level of understanding.
- You may also want to ask the learners to provide a short account of what they have learned from the assessment and how it has benefited them and what could be done to help them further understand the topic. This could be incorporated into the assessment as part of asking the learners to actively reflect upon their learning.
When you receive feedback it is useful to have considered what to do with it.
It can be very easy to simply accept positive feedback particularly when it is about something you have created, e.g. an innovative assessment. However, when receiving the feedback, it’s worth considering if that feedback is from a reliable source. For example, if the feedback was from a learner did they actually complete the assessment? Or, if the feedback is from a peer is it possible the feedback is positive because you have asked a colleague about an assessment in a topic they are not familiar with?
Collate all the feedback you receive and try to identify themes. For example, if learners found the assessment useful was it also possibly too easy and didn’t help them to develop their skills the way you thought it might have or should have?
Positive feedback can also be useful and reliable and accurate. However, not every learner will have the same experience with your innovative assessment. So, there may be different aspects that learners found useful and it may be worth exploring what specifically they liked.
Use the feedback you have gathered to inform the assessment for its reuse in another class or in the next academic year. Keep seeking feedback and aim to perfect the assessment.
Similarly to positive feedback, developmental feedback comes with caveats. It can be easy to take negative feedback ‘on the chin’ and make the changes suggested. But, sometimes the changes suggested can fundamentally alter the premise behind the assessment. When receiving developmental feedback consider the source. Is it a learner who didn’t like the assessment because it wasn’t easy enough and the assessment was too much hard work? In such instances it’s worth asking the learner, whilst the assessment was challenging what did they learn? Similarly, a colleague may see the assessment as not practical or it may be viewed as outside their comfort zone.
Developmental feedback when used alongside positive feedback can help you to paint a picture of how the assessment was received and how useful the learners found it. Sharing your findings with other interested parties such as internal or external verifiers or employers also enables you to use feedback from a variety of areas to make the assessment a reflection of a competency and constructively aligned curriculum.