Flipped Assessment

If the way we measure our students does not change, the learning culture will not change either. As sad it is students mainly seem to learn for assessments. Flipped learning does not decrease the heterogeneity of the class. We do not need to close our eyes to heterogeneity either when we “measure” the students.

I argue that flipped assessment is one of the most important pillars in creating flipped learning culture. Flipped assessment follows the rules of formative assessment. It is carried out during the learning process in order to determine a learner’s progress in relation to their targets and how learning can be improved. Flipped assessment’s main focus is to support students’ learning and to help the teacher to build learning culture with the aid of self- and peer-assessment. Self- and peer-assessment are connected with the goals of self- and co-regulation. Self-assessment requires not only emotional reflection but also awareness and consideration of the students’ own skills and how they act in different situations. Peer assessment helps students to engage in collective steering, be critical of their choices, and consider their own actions on the basis of what others hold to be good or bad.

The purpose of flipped assessment is not to help the teacher give grades. Instead, it helps the teacher to create flipped learning culture. In practice, my flipped assessment includes a few important points:

  • There are no mandatory test days in my class. The students will make the test depending on the time of their studies. My students can choose the level of tests depending on the grade in their sight: 7, 8-9 and 10 (in Finland grades are from 4 to 10). The basic idea is that students decide by themselves which grade they court in math. My role as a teacher is to help them to achieve their goals.
  • The students are advised not to read for the math test because if they do so just in the previous evening they will be “cheating” in the test. When the students are cramming for a test, they will store the information into their short-term memory and this way destroy their possibility to see what they really have learned and what they have in their long-term memory. As long as a teacher offers the students a test paper where they can just vomit their knowledge the students continue this culture of rote learning.
  • When the students have made the test, I will just mark with colored pen the number of exercise where there are some problems. Next, the students are offered precious opportunities to relearn and remediate. The students decide how they will correct the wrong answers; with or without the text book and further alone or with the help of classmates or teacher.
  • Because the students are doing the tests at different times I always have time to concentrate on every student as individual and give feedback. After second round, I sit down with the student and we have a little chat about what kind of choices the student has done, how he or she has studied, what are the results, and is there any need to make some changes.
  • And perhaps the most important thing: the most advanced students will get a test so demanding that they won’t get all correct at the first round. They help other students to trust that I won’t penalize them because of their mistakes and show the others what learning math really is. To learn you need to challenge yourself, make mistakes, ask questions, and interact with others.

My students differentiate their learning with three different level exercises: the ground level, intermediate, and advanced. Naturally, students who are practising also the most difficult exercises will take the grade ten test. The final grade to the school report will be decided in collaboration with students. The students will tell me which grade they have earned and why. My role as a teacher is to help students identify their skills with the help of flipped assessment.

I know in some countries summative tests are mandatory. So what? The main goal in flipped assessment is to help students self-evaluate their learning (not to measure learning outcomes). You can still measure learning outcomes with summative tests. I guarantee your students will achieve better in those mandatory tests because of flipped assessment. Dylan William has done a lot of research about formative assessment and I highly recommend his book “Inside the Black Box”. The forefather of flipped learning Erick Mazur offers also amazing lecture “Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning”.

You can buy the book “Flipped Assessment” for example on Amazon.com.

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