by Anne Davies

As you completed Step 2 and created your evaluation plan, the evidence collection becomes clear. Since you need valid and reliable evidence of learning it is important to collect the evidence of learning over time from multiple sources (products, observations, conversations). It also supports student learning if they have responsibility for collecting some the evidence. Getting students involves is easier than it sounds. Consider the Science example shared in Step 1. Consider the ways students can be supported to collect and file the products – in a digital file folder or a paper-based one. A crate or part of a file drawer can keep the evidence safe as the learning time unfolds.

If the students are supported to be responsible to collect and file the ongoing evidence of learning then teachers can focus on collecting observations. For example, given the example above, a teacher might choose to make the following on-going observations:

(O) Observations are detailed
(Q) Questions about scientific world
(M) Makes realistic predictions

(E) Engages productively in activities and experiments
(S) Works by self
(G) Works as part of a small group
(U) Understands scientific concepts being taught
(C) Makes connections to new scientific situations

How to make these observations both possible and practical? Consider setting up your observations using the tools at hand (either digital or in paper form) in the following way:

Now you can make observations as students engage in being scientists day-by-day in your classroom. Select a few students to observe each day and then take a few seconds to use a highlighter pen to note what you have observed.

As the term progresses your ongoing observations provide you with the data – the evidence of learning – you need to evaluate the parts of the curriculum that are not evident in products. Because you’ve take a few minutes every week to record what you have witnessed students actually doing, you can look at the pattern and trend over the term. You can speak confidently to what students are able to consistently and independently do as scientists. Everything else you need to have “proof” is present in the products students have been collected. This is one way to have the evidence  you need to evaluate when the end of the term arrives as well as having students engaged in providing evidence of their own learning to you.

I hope your new school year has a great beginning!