Authentic Assessment – Nathaniel – 8

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6 thoughts on “Authentic Assessment – Nathaniel – 8”

    1. It is authentic because it is an assessment of the quality (or quantity) of the communication that has just taken place in the classroom. By communication, we could use BVP’s definition: “expression, interpretation, and negotiation of meaning.”

      1. Exactly. In a communicative language class, communicating in L2 is authentic assessment. In a culinary arts class, it’s cooking a recipe; in chemistry, doing experiments. It’s what they are learning, so it’s how we assess them. Instruction and assessment blend together as much as possible.

        When I was in Italy, my roommate was studying to be a sommelier. He used to come home with expensive bottles of Brunello and Chianti Riserva, and he’d say he had to “study for a test.” So maybe some forms of assessment are better than others.

      2. When I “form” a class to align its classroom minute by minute skills to what I require from them that year, I use my Classroom Rules and jGR to educate them as to what I expect. They know what I want. I bring in JGR/ISR when needed but not a lot. The main two pronged devices I use constantly during the year are:

        1. Classroom Rule #2 (“One person speaks and the others listen”)
        2. I draw an imaginary circle in the empty space in front of me and repeat the mantra (in English) over and over: “We are filling this shared space right here with words. This space right here is the place where all of our ideas and words meet in this classroom. Since I speak more French than you do, I will fill this space with a lot more of my words than your words. This will change in later years and you will do more talking than me. But right now except for all the one word/yes/no/ answers that I look into your eyes for as we tell the story, You just listen. What we are doing now and what we will be doing all the time this year, and what you will be doing when you read silently as well, is negotiate meaning between ourselves. Now, you are aware that are task here that is right in front of us is to negotiate meaning. Does everyone understand what “negotiate” means? Does everyone understand what “meaning” means? Would you like this lecture again, because I can now see, as opposed to when I started speaking English a few moments ago, that you are aware of what I want you to do in this class. I know and respect that it is different from your other classes, but you are really going to have to show up for my class the whole period. It’s hard work, to negotiate meaning! Now, are we on the same page? Or, if you like, I can repeat what I just said. And by they way, I know you are waiting for a test, but there won’t be one. You are being graded right now. (Every time when I remind them of this the whole class sits up a little straighter.) Any questions? Good! Than let’s proceed with what we were talking about before this interruption. As I was saying in French,…”.

        Of course, when working with motivated adults who want to learn the language, the above speech is totally unnecessary. It is a reminder of how truly challenging and uniquely draining emotionally and mentally working with adolescents is.

        1. Ben I am writing that lecture on the inside of my arm with a Sharpie so I can pull it our twenty-three times per period this week. Last week there was another rash of field trips at our school and the classes were all disrupted, one day I had four kids in French, one day I had no kids in first period (that was kinda cool). Then I was out Thursday and Friday (when I saw Russ! Hi Russ!) and so this Monday morning sitting here gearing up for the week, I am going to be doing some May reteaching. I like your lecture so much, so very very much! The word of the day today is LISTENING.

  1. Nathaniel’s words are 100% of the time as succinct and pithy as my words are convoluted and typo-ridden.

    He made a simple statement last week that sparked the assessment discussion:
    Do we need bring in an assessment expert with charts and a Powerpoint to explain what “formative assessment” means?

    I say yes. We’re at war. Bring in the big tanks.

    Let’s start an email-writing campaign to get whoever at IFLT to pull in a last-minute (or even for next year) assessment expert- Powerpoint and all.

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