What are performance-based assessments (PBA)? Here's an example to help you understand PBAs. Let’s think about verbs. Regardless of your level of interest in sentence structure, the word verb most likely brought one thing to mind: action. The physical act of doing something. Now, what verb in the following standard do you consider most significant? Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the Sun and the force of gravity. If you picked develop, congratulations! That’s what the middle-school science student has to do in this case: create something to describe something else. Both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards are all about action, regardless of the age of the student. So, how does a student develop a model on a traditional multiple-choice assessment? Chances are, this question made you pause a bit and think about it. Can a model be made by choosing A, B, C, or D? Kind of. You can definitely complete a model by selecting the correct answer. You [...]
This is the fourth and final installment in the four-part blog series on authentic learning. We’ll explore how assessments fit into the authentic learning process. So far in the series we have discussed the components of authentic learning, the elements of a successful authentic learning environment, and how to integrate these experiences into existing curriculums. The final piece is assessment. Why Do We Assess? While assessment is not usually anyone’s favorite part of the learning process, it is necessary. All assessment seeks to measure student performance toward learning objectives or standards. Types of Assessment Assessment usually takes one of two forms: formative or summative. Both types of assessment can be used in an authentic learning environment, but it does take some creative thinking to break out of the scantron bubble. Formative Assessment These assessments take place during the learning process, allowing for modification of both teaching and learning activities. A couple of great examples of formative assessment in authentic learning are journals and student interviews. Journals Journals are a space for students to process [...]
Learn about the four responsiblities for an effective Subject Matter Expert.
This is the first in a four-part blog series on authentic learning. We’ll start by defining what authentic learning is and how to design authentic learning experiences. Then, we’ll explore how to incorporate those experiences into existing curriculum. Finally, we’ll discuss how to create meaningful assessments that relate to those experiences. Authentic learning is rapidly gaining popularity. It works at every level of education. It connects what students learn in the classroom to real-world problems they will likely face in their future careers. Authentic learning can include activities such as scenarios, hands-on tasks, and debates. The goal of this approach is to increase student engagement. It gives students a concrete connection to their learning. They can see exactly how the information they’ve gained in the classroom applies to their future. When students see how their learning connects to real life, their learning deepens and they are better equipped to apply it in their work. With the rapid growth of eLearning, the need for authentic learning experiences is more important now than ever. William Horton has written [...]
If you are in the business of training future nurses, than you have probably heard the rumors by now: The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is updating the NCLEX 2019. Here's what you can expect to change. What is the NCLEX 2019? The NCLEX 2019 is the standard test given to nursing students to verify that they are graduating with the skills and critical thinking necessary to succeed as a clinical nurse. These tests are created by the NCSBN, and structured to examine students’ critical thinking and knowledge in a way similar to how they will be tested in a real clinical scenario. Recently, the NCSBN discovered that the NCLEX is lacking in various critical thinking areas, and has begun the process of improving the test in order to ensure that the students with passing grades are truly prepared. While this sounds daunting, it should be exciting as well. View sample test questions from NCLEX 2022 What Changes Should You Expect? While it is true that the NCSBN is working to update [...]
What are soft skills? Different skills are used and developed for different situations. The skills needed for math are different than the skills needed for reading; athletic skills are different still. But what about more subtle skills such as listening and time management? These intangible but essential skills are known as soft skills. Soft skills are a set of skills students need to be successful in the workplace and world at large. Why are soft skills important? These skills are especially valuable for students in high school and higher education. High school students benefit from a well-rounded, differentiated curriculum. Colleges and universities require students to have a grasp on many soft skills, and they are expected in the workplace. Beyond that, students with a firm understanding of soft skills have a greater ability to connect interpersonally. Which skills need to be incorporated? There are a lot of skills that fall under the soft skills umbrella, so which ones should be included in a curriculum? Communication skills, especially active listening, should rank high on any list. These [...]
Have you seen what’s trending on Facebook? How about what’s trending on Twitter or Instagram? With seemingly infinite information sources but only finite time, it may be hard to conceive of doing in-depth study of academic subjects. Yet the reality of our short-attention-span world is actually key to understanding the coming learning trends in higher ed. Educational institutions are eager to capitalize on students’ new learning styles. Microlearning The underlying aspect of the latest trends is microlearning, or learning implemented in small, objective-driven chunks. A larger lesson is divided into its smallest components so students can learn each one quickly and usually independently. The content may be delivered in videos, podcasts, short articles, infographics, and other formats that can be absorbed in minutes. So instead of setting aside blocks of hours to master a full skill set, students spend minutes mastering each detail and then move on to the next step. This supports retention: small nuggets of information are easier to remember and recall when needed. Higher ed institutions are jumping on this type of learning, [...]
Children love video games. In our increasingly digital world, we can leverage their use for instructional purposes. Here are four tips for educators and curriculum developers to use digital games in the classroom. Games as motivational aids Research has shown that video games help in promoting learning and motivating students. A study at NYU found that gaming encourages students to become more engaged about their learning, and to become confident about their skills. Games have an inherent motivational element, as they mostly contain leaderboards and built-in competition. This will eventually lead to progress in their learning. Use them to enhance instruction When selecting games to enhance instruction, make sure that the game you are using fits with your subject’s requirements, the needs of your students, and the skills they will need to develop to complete a lesson. The key is to use games to help you plan curricula that engage students and support learning, and are not merely an end in themselves. Don’t reinvent the wheel Don't spend your time developing new video games to teach [...]