Changing Assessment Practices
Every year, Ms. Perry engages her learners in a project-based study of Romeo and Juliet. Last year (Scenario 1) she used concentional methods to assess learner work. This year (Scenario 2), she revised the project to include some new methods of assessment.
Read the two scenarios below and focus on the shift Ms. Perry made in assessment practices. Consider how these changes are likely to affect her learners’ overall learning and project performance.
Romeo and Juliet - Scenario 1
Ms. Perry, a high school English teacher guides her learners through a project on Romeo and Juliet. She focuses on national reading assessment standards related to character analysis and literary devices, along with other oral and writing assessment standards.
Ms. Perry begins the four-week unit by explaining to her learners that they will be learning about Shakespeare and his most famous play, Romeo and Juliet. She introduces the Essential Question for a learner discussion, Does literature help us better understand ourselves? She explains that they will be completing a project at the end of the unit where they will apply the themes of the play to a current problem and develop solutions.
Learners spend several weeks reading and acting out the scenes from Romeo and Juliet. Ms. Perry assigns learners roles and they begin reading aloud and analyzing scenes. Learners also read some parts of the play for homework. After each act, Ms. Perry gives her learners a quiz to assess their learning.
They spend considerable time during class discussing the difficult scenes and the literary terms associated with the play. For instance, learners identify and discuss the metaphors concerning Juliet in Romeo’s soliloquy. Ms. Perry asks learners questions such as:
Just before finishing the play during the fourth week, Ms. Perry asks the learners to define fate and to take a stance as to whether or not they believe in it. The class discusses fate as understood in the time of Shakespeare. After finishing the play, they take a multiple choice and matching test on the play’s action, characters, themes, and literary devices.
- How do the metaphors help to show the feelings and thoughts of the characters?
- How does the imagery affect the way we respond to the scene?
Ms. Perry assigns a final project to learner teams in which they will apply the themes of the play to modern life to develop a solution to an age –old problem that will positively impact their community. They are required to present their findings and solutions to an audience and create appropriate products to supplement their message (multimedia presentation, brochure, newsletter, flyer, website, and so forth).
The class discusses example themes, such as parent-teenager communication, peer pressure, or violence in school, and they review an example learner-created brochure on conflict resolution. Ms. Perry hands out the rubric that will be used to evaluate the final project and discusses expectations, including problem-solving and group work. Learners also receive a checklist to help them stay on-track through the stages of brainstorming, planning, and implementation of their project.
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