Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blogging as an exam - I deem it successful.

Each year, our Year 12 Health Education course completes a blog as an exam. The process is;

  1. I provide a stimulus statement.
  2. They respond to the statement.
  3. They read each other's posts and challenge the arguments of their peers.
  4. They choose one challenge on their post, and respond to that challenge.

Each year I am astounded by the work that they produce, and the engagement they show with the assessment process. Initially the public presentation of an assessment response causes some hesitation (and extra care) in their writing. However once we move to the phase where they can read each other's work and challenge their peers, the intellect really comes to the fore. The requirement to understand the argument of a peer and then challenge them on that argument can only occur through extensive knowledge of the concepts represented in the stimulus statement and the health theories studied throughout the course.

The stimulus statement: The development of independent thinking skills for impaired students in a supported learning environment is significantly more important than the development of self efficacy.

An excerpt of a student response (below) contains reference to a number of health theories as well as the two concepts represented in the stimulus statement.

Independent thinking skills teaches intellectually impaired students how to think rather than what to think (Institute of Education Sciences, 2014). Independent thinking skills help students create meaning, gain an understanding, and therefore enables them to make judgements, good decisions and choices about a task or an issue. Additionally in consequence it is more likely that they would be able to effectively complete the task or solve the issue. The lack of critical thinking skills utilized within the classroom greatly diminishes the students’ chance for success (Irfaner, 2006). Independent thinking skills are one of the hardest things to teach intellectually impaired students as they have deficits in learning, communication, deduction and reasoning skills, decision making and information retrieval. However the development of these independent thinking skills is important as it enables the students to apply their individual knowledge and skills to a new or old task, and therefore to progress to the next level and reach their full potential. This is important as it will enable them to think for themselves and not heavily rely on their support networks for every aspect in their lives.

And a challenge posed to this student was;

You mention that independent thinking skills are needed in order for the students to overcome possible barriers to our failures of tasks but having high self-efficacy assists in overcoming barriers. isn't it more likely that developing self-efficacy is more important than independent thinking skills initially as without it the students could view the challenge as difficulties and change their attitudes towards the task when considering their outcome expectation?

I truly believe the students could not have demonstrated this level of cognition or understanding of theory in a standard exam (single response to a stimulus). And by assessing the quality of the challenges they post as well as the response to the stimulus, then quality challenges result.

Have you tried, or would you be willing, to try a blog as an exam?

1 comment:

Nathan said...

I quite like this post and think it is a different and engaging way to assess students. Is it something you have or would be willing to try with younger students? Or do you think it is more appropriate for Year 11 and 12 students. I would like to have a go at incorporating this into a unit at some stage......