Assessment for 21st Century Learning vs. Assessment for the Traditional Classroom

21century

The focus on assessment for 21st Century learning is crucial for teachers to understand because the traditional way just does not meet the needs of our students anymore. If we are to make the change, we are to teach students skills to survive in a century where new jobs are being created as one reads this post, then we need to assess their learning with the same new lens so they can be prepared for the future. 

No longer can we expect that cookie cutter curriculum and assessment meet the needs of our diverse student population. No longer can we ignore that learning does not happen the way it is taught on worksheets, packets and textbooks. It is imperative for assessment to mimic the new ways we are teaching, and that is where learning is more personalized, more authentic, where learning can take place in a classroom, in a living room, in a cafe. In the same way, assessing these learning experiences need to include rubrics, reflections, tangible creations such as websites, video presentations, video tutorials. Assessing 21st century skills means assessing unique creations that students work on in groups or alone. It means students assess themselves based on a peer rubric.

Traditional learning assessments no longer meet the needs of students because it assumes that students had to level up to the assessment not the other way around. Under the new way of assessing students, the test needs to level up to the student, their unique talents and their effort in the creation of something or the achieving of a mastery in performance. 

On the topic of self-assessments, as an educator who has used peer reviews, I believe that they serve a purpose. I believe that self assessments help students understand where they lie on the learning curve. Though historically, self-assessments have not been very popular, they really do help students take ownership of their learning through reflection. As an assessment tool, it gives the student a chance to become reflective of their effort, how grading is decided and what exactly they need to do to achieve full credit.

As the week has progressed, I have learned more about assessments and the importance of their purpose, the difference between how I currently assess my students versus how I could assessment to help them 1.) take ownership of their learning 2.) assess their talents as well as their effort and potential. I know there is still much work to do.

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