“Year-end tests are autopsies, not assessments: they explain what went wrong after it is too late to change course.” — Paul Bambrick-Santoyo in Leveraging Leadership

Is Assessment Ready to Move Beyond Standardized Tests? These MIT Researchers Think So.

By making assessment playful, we can get closer to measuring the things we actually value.”
-Louisa Rosenheck, MIT research manager

The headline first caught my attention, I found it here at Common Lit. It is an article about a teacher not knowing if his students were learning or not. It reminded me of a student I heard about who knew less in math after 3 years of middle school than what he knew when he started. 3 years of school resulted in less competency. That surely is an example of an autopsy without value.

Then what is it they have discovered at MIT as regards to testing?

“Playful assessment is a punch to that notion of assessment being so serious,” Kim continues. “I think it could change, really, how schooling is done.”

So, what does playful assessment look like? Much of it, as Rosenheck envisions it, hinges on self-reflection and peer evaluation. “We want students to be able to recognize for themselves what is quality work,” she explains. But teachers need support to design learning experiences where these kinds of assessments can be embedded, and to develop assessments that are tailored to what students are learning.

The MIT Teaching Systems Lab (TSL) has been pursuing this body of work for about two years, Rosenheck adds, but only dubbed it “playful assessment” in the last year. In that time, they’ve pursued a few distinct strands of this work, including the development of a playful activity to help teachers build better rubrics and the implementation of a pilot for playful assessment in schools—which EdSurge got to see first-hand.

If you want to try this out in class you can download the material here: MetaRubric Sheets, MetaRubricCards, Below is an example of how you can track your students’ progress using the LMS itslearning.



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