As this year’s TNReady testing transition faced problems and ultimately, was not completed, 5th-grade students at a Chattanooga school were preparing a report to improve testing in Tennessee.
The report was 14 pages and was mailed to Governor Bill Haslam in an attempt to influence the state’s decisions on testing going forward.
This project, by the way, is exactly the type of project-based learning that can and should be used more often to demonstrate student understanding of what they’ve learned.
Said one student of the project:
“We wanted to help make changes about something we’re passionate about,” Romero said. “And we learned how to unite to persuade someone.”
As a report on project-based assessment in one Kentucky district indicated:
The entire curriculum at this school has been redesigned around interdisciplinary projects, which take several weeks to complete. The English and social studies seventh-grade PBATs were group projects that took place in the fall.
One by one, the students stand and give a 20-minute solo presentation with a PowerPoint or video. Separately, they’ve handed in 15-page research papers. They’re giving these presentations to panels of judges made up of teachers from other grades or the high school, officials from a neighboring district, education students from the University of Kentucky, and fellow students.
Moving toward a hybrid model of standardized tests and project-based assessments could be a way to improve Tennessee’s testing system.
Commissioner McQueen is conducting a summer listening tour about testing, and that’s a great opportunity to share alternative strategies.
For now, the students at Nolan Elementary are demonstrating they are ready for a transition to a student-centered assessment strategy.
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