Friday, January 20, 2012

Evidence of Understanding

KUDs answer the question, "What are the desired results?"  Once you have drafted KUDs for your unit, the next logical question is "If these are the desired results, how will these be assessed?"
We spent most of first semester learning about the first stage of unit design: crafting desired results by determining high priority standards, essential curriculum, and KUDs.  The second stage focuses on assessment (and the third, the learning plan).  There are two questions Wiggins and McTighe (2011) offer to test the validy of assessment questions; they are:
1.  How likely is it that a student could do well on the assessment by
  • making clever guesses, parroting back, or plugging in what was learned (perhaps with accurate recall but with limited or no understanding)?
  • making a good-faith effort, with lots of hard work and enthusiasm, but with limited understanding?
  • producing a lovely product or an engaging and articulate performance, but with limited understanding?
2.  How likely is it that a student could do poorly on the assessment by
  • failing to meet the requirments of this particular task while nontheless revealing a good understanding of the ideas?
  • not being skilled at certain aspects of the task, but those skills are not central to the goal or involved outside learning or natural talent (e.g., require acting or artistic ability not related to the KUDs)?
These are challenging questions and take courage to ask of the assessments we craft so carefully.  Obviously, we want the responses to these questions to be "not likely." When we align assessment questions with aspects of the KUDs (particulalry the transfer goal, the "do"), we are better able to focus on demonstrations of learning and transfer.

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