Romeo and Juliet – Scenario 2
Ms. Perry attends a class, conducts online research, and reads a few publications about assessment since last teaching Romeo and Juliet. She decides to try some strategies she hadn’t considered before and develops a plan for embedding other methods of assessment in the project.
To provide more opportunity for learners to consider Shakespeare’s relevance, Ms. Perry sets up an e-pal project so her learners can exchange ideas with peers comparing Shakespeare’s time to their own. To structure the learners’ email communication, Ms. Perry plans learner reading logs with specific questions that prompt analysis of characters and literary elements as the learners read each act of the play. Learners will write answers to the reading log questions and exchange them with their e-pal. They will periodically hand in a log of their email exchanges during the project.
As before, learners will read the play and explore the themes in Romeo and Juliet and discuss how they apply to modern life and relationships. To start the project, Ms. Perry introduces the same Essential Question, Does literature help us better understand ourselves? A short discussion of what learners already know about Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet follows. Ms. Perry is surprised to find that learners know very little about Shakespeare. She decides to introduce an Internet scavenger hunt, a structured search for basic facts about the life and times of Shakespeare. After the activity, learners complete a handout on what they now know and would still like to know about Shakespeare and the era in which he lived.
As in past years, learners spend the next several weeks reading, acting out Romeo and Juliet, and discussing difficult scenes and literary terms such as metaphor. This year however, Ms. Perry uses observation sheets to keep track of notes for individual learners, looking for such things as: participation in discussion and analysis of ideas. She refers to these notes when conducting brief one-on-one meetings with her learners. The meetings are meant to ensure learner are on track as they develop a short essay on one theme, character trait, or literary device from the play that seems relevant to their own life. Learners send these essays to their e-pals for peer feedback before handing them in.
Ms. Perry introduces the final project to the class, and they discuss example themes and review a learner sample. They also examine the rubric that will be used to evaluate the final project. To help create ownership for the criteria for which their work will be rated, Ms. Perry asks learners to use the rubric to score the sample learner project. Together, they discuss the assessment rubric and make some changes to the language of the criteria. Learners also receive a checklist to guide them through all stages of the project.
As they work on the project, learners use the information they have recorded in their reading logs to provide “evidence” to support a case for their solutions to the modern life issue they choose for their project topic. Using these arguments, learners create a presentation discussing their topic, its relationship to Romeo and Juliet, and their solutions.
Learners take a final test on the play’s plot development, literary devices, and characters. Afterwards, they complete a self-assessment to include in their English class portfolio, and respond in the form of a reflection, to the Essential Question, with a focus on what the question means in relationship to their own learning.
Changing to Learner-Centerd Assessment
Much like Ms. Perry in Scenario 2, changing to a learner-centred classroom does not mean abandoning conventional classroom assessment practices; but integrating a variety of learner-centred strategies throughout the entire teaching and learning cycle. These strategies are often embedded and contribute to teaching and learning at the same time.
In learner-centred classrooms:
- Tests and quizzes are still used but are not the only method of assessing learner learning.
- A variety of assessments, each for different purposes, are implemented at multiple points within a project. For example:
- Teachers determine learner understanding and activate prior knowledge before launching the project
- Teachers and learners give and receive feedback in the form of peer and teacher conferencing
- Checklists and rubrics help learners understand expectations and manage learning progress
- Self assessments and reflections encourage metacognition and ownership of learning
- Rubrics define quality for products and provide criteria for self, peer, and teacher assessment
- On-going observations provide opportunities to adjust teaching and learning
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