December/January 2005 - International Technology and ...

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December/January 2005 - International Technology and ...

FEATURE ARTICLEFigure 3. Aligning Assessment Purpose With Assessment TechniquesNote: The page numbers referenced refer to content in Measuring Progress.5. Make use of assessment results.Finally, once students havecompleted the assessments, theteacher has to carefully examinethe results and determine what theresults show. The results (i.e.,evidence of learning) can be usedin a variety of ways, as indicated inMeasuring Progress. Somepossibilities include:a. Improving teaching andlearningb. Assigning gradesc. Monitoring progressd. Identifying levels oftechnological literacye. Determining instructionaleffectivenessf. Communicating the resultsg. Marketing and promotionh. Guiding professionaldevelopment decisionsi. Guiding program enhancementdecisionsAssessment AlignmentOne of the most challenging parts ofcreating quality assessment devices isalignment. It is certainly notappropriate to assess higher-orderthinking skills with a multiple-choicetest. In the same light, an essay exammay not be appropriate to gatherevidence of understanding facts.Figure 3 may help to clarify the rangeof assessments that are appropriatewith expected learning outcomes.In Figure 3, (adapted from Wiggins &McTighe, 1998) curricular prioritiesare aligned with assessment methods.Curricular priorities are items that areextracted and organized from thecontent and the standards. The largestcircle identifies items that are “worthbeing familiar with.” This material islikely to be forgotten by the student indays or weeks to come, but isnevertheless good for them to knowwhen solving a design challenge. Forexample, in a design unit dealing withthe flight, students should be familiarwith terms related to aviation, dates,important people, and possibly aircraftnames. This information provides thestudent with a more well-roundedunderstanding of aviation. Thismaterial is easily assessed with moretraditional assessment methodsincluding true/false, multiple-choice,and matching tests. This type ofassessment is easy to construct andeasy to grade, but it gives a veryincomplete picture of student learning.The center ring identifies items thatare “important to know and do.” Thismaterial provides a foundation forlearning the “big ideas” and isnecessary to successfully solve thedesign challenge. Following the sameexample about aviation, studentswould learn about wing design,aerodynamics, Bernoulli’s principle,and the forces on a plane. Assessingthese items is more difficult. Itrequires students to construct aresponse, demonstrate a performance,and answer more complexquestioning.The inner ring contains the “big ideas”that are essential to understand andthat will have lasting value. These “bigideas” are the items that lead studentsto becoming technologically literateand require the most challenging andvaluable form of assessments. Theseinclude authentic performance,presentations, and the development ofdesign solutions. Each of these itemscan be assessed with a rubric or otherauthentic assessment tool.Finally, with all good educationalpractices, the teacher must maintain abalance of assessment methods andtechniques. Using only traditionalpaper/pencil tests or just authenticactivities does not provide a completepicture of a student understanding oftechnology.ReferencesCosta, A. & Kallick, B. (2000). Assessingand reporting on habits of mind.Alexandria, VA: Association forSupervision and CurriculumDevelopment.International Technology EducationAssociation. (2000/2002). Standards fortechnological literacy: Content for thestudy of technology. Reston, VA:Author.International Technology EducationAssociation. (2004). MeasuringProgress: A Guide to AssessingStudents for Technological Literacy.Reston, VA: Author.National Academy of Engineering &National Research Council. (2002).Technically Speaking: Why allAmericans need to know more abouttechnology. (A. Pearson & T. Young,Eds.). Washington, DC: NationalAcademy Press.Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (1998).Understanding by design. Alexandria,VA: Association for Supervision andCurriculum Development.Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (1999).Understanding by design handbook.Alexandria, VA: Association forSupervision and CurriculumDevelopment.Dr. Daniel E.Engstrom is anassociate professorat CaliforniaUniversity of PA andthe Project Directorfor the NSF-fundedInvention, Innovation,and Inquiry Project.He can be reachedat engstrom@cup.edu.32 December/January 2005 • THE TECHNOLOGY TEACHER

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