As part of a continuing exploration here, I am happy to share this next example of and reflection upon “Open Computer” or “Open Internet” Testing at St. Gregory. As I’ve written before, I think this assessment approach is a highly valuable one for promoting deeper learning, information literacy, and analytic and organizational skill development over memorization and regurgitation. I think that many tests in most subjects can be, with the right intentional design, “open internet” and that they will be the better for it.
Some argue against tests altogether, but I still love a good test, and taking the time to think through as a teacher what kind of questions can we ask which will continue to be meaningful assessments when Google and Wolfram Alpha are available is, I think, a highly productive exercise, and, of course, will generate a more authentic assessment experience far more well aligned with the real world of professionals for which we are preparing our students.
Below is a report about another experiment with this approach from our Theater teacher and director, Lisa Bodden.
Comparing my approach to teaching this course with the last time I taught a similar version I realized that the major thing that has changed is the student’s access to technology. Did I still need the students to buy a heavy, although comprehensive, textbook? No, the information is available at their fingertips.
Did I need to order lengthy videos describing very limited topics and spend time plucking out the important details? No, YouTube is almost too easy and has a plethora of informative videos, performances, and interviews with scholars and professionals.
Therefore, did I really need the students to regurgitate information or could I ask them to utilize Internet resources and their class notes to compose essays based on questions that they helped craft?
The “answers” the students created in response to the essay prompts not only proved to me how well they understood the information, but also allowed them to maintain their individuality, voice, and opinion. I asked for historically specific information, but they could choose who and what on which to focus. The test went very well, in my view, and I will happily turn to this method again and again. Although this will not be my only method of assessment, I consider it a success. (more…)