In Grade 9 History, Mr. Hardwicke’s students were starting their American Revolution Unit when we discussed how an authentic summative assessment might look like. The first step was to ensure that power standards for the unit were assessed. The next step was to figure out an authentic product to demonstrate the learning.
After analysing and confirming the Standards and essential questions, it was clear that a summative assessment had to focus on perceptions about the first American Constitution as the result of the revolution ideals . Therefore, students would have to make connections between the three essential questions. Students had to take a stand on a personal perspective about the Constitution, and then promote/defend that perspective to anyone still not convinced about how it turned out. They could be Federalist/anti-Federalist or Separatist/Loyalist.
The product had to be a piece of advertising to persuade an audience, either digital or physical (later digitalised). These types of advertising products are naturally short and synthetic, so the trick was to still require depth and detail. For that purpose, a justification for the product was also required, as if providing a rationale for the advertising agency.
High audience engagement
This product is a blog post at a high visibility social media site. In this case the student was clear on the idea of an authentic audience, which shows not only on the choice of media but also on the approach to the language used, which brings the audience close to the topic even if it happened in the 1700’s.
Balance between product and justification
The product below is a funk song, with lyrics that summarise main ideas. The rationale document presented with the project enables better understanding of the student’s understanding behind the conclusions. As the product is very concise in nature, the rationale provides the necessary depth for better assessment.
Paper poster and justification
This product was a paper poster, which shows how students can be creative in any media, as anything can be digitalised later. The poster is symbolic, and even more concise than the funk song. So the rationale document provides the necessary insight into the student’s ideas.