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A Program of the Virginia Department of Education

Assessment in 21st-Century Classrooms

Course Description

This interactive e-learning experience offers an in-depth look at assessment that meets the needs of 21st-century teaching and learning. In this course, teachers see how assessment strategies can benefit their teaching practices and their students’ learning. They learn how to plan, develop, and manage student-centered assessment. They follow three teachers and see how the three teachers are implementing embedded and ongoing assessment methods in their classrooms. The course offers opportunities to apply the assessment concepts with action-planning exercises.

Course Goals

  • Learn the characteristics of 21st-century classrooms.
  • Review 21st-century skills and consider how they are assessed.
  • Understand the role of formative and summative assessment.
  • Understand the purposes of assessment in the 21st-century classroom.
  • Review assessment methods.
  • Learn characteristics of effective rubrics.
  • Explore the Assessing Projects library.
  • Understand how assessment is integrated in instructional activities.
  • Review information and research about self- and peer assessment.
  • Understand how student–teacher conferences enhance assessment.
  • Explore ways to assess learning over time through portfolios.
  • Review assessment instruments for different purposes.
  • Learn to plan assessment around standards and 21st-century skills.
  • Develop an assessment plan that describes how and why different assessments are used.
  • Create assessments for a unit or project.
  • Learn strategies to help students transition to new assessment roles.
  • Create activities and resources to support self-assessment.
  • Learn ways to schedule, perform, and record ongoing assessment.
  • Use assessment data to guide reflection, set goals, and plan instruction.
  • Create a process to use assessments for grading purposes.

Course Length

This facilitated course is divided into six modules: an orientation module and five content-based modules. Each content module includes individual work to learn concepts of assessment in the 21st-century classroom through interactive tutorials and exercises, a facilitated online discussion, and individual work developing a final project. The time for completing each module is estimated to be 4–6 hours, and the total amount of time required for the entire course is estimated to be 30 hours.

Course Requirements

Successful completion of the course will be based on the following requirements:

  • Participants must complete the course activities and readings in each module.
  • Participants must post at least three times in each module discussion forum (their post and a reply to two other posts).
  • Participants must complete the course’s final action plan project and submit a summary on the discussion board.

Discussion Participation

Participants are required to post a minimum of three substantive posts in each discussion forum. Participants will be evaluated on the frequency and quality of their discussion board participation. Postings will be reviewed based on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited, overall quality, degree to which they extend the discussion, and tone.

Final Action Plan Project

As a final project, participants will complete an action plan for incorporating course concepts in their own classrooms. Participants are expected to work independently on the final action plan project throughout the course. Each participant is expected to submit a summary of their “Assessment in 21st-Century Classrooms” plan on the discussion board at the end of Module 5.

Course Modules

Module 1: 21st Century Learning

Module 1 introduces the elements of a 21st-century classroom and the skills students need to excel in a changing world. The module explores the role that 21st-century skills play in learning and shows assessment approaches that enhance achievement in a 21st-century classroom.

Module 2: Assessment Strategies

Module 2 introduces the components of effective assessment strategies for 21st-century classrooms. Teachers learn about purposes, methods, and instruments for assessment. The module demonstrates how assessment purposes define assessment practice and how different methods and instruments meet those purposes. Teachers also review the characteristics of effective rubrics and explore rubrics using the Assessing Projects application.

Module 3: Assessment Methods

Module 3 provides a more in-depth look at how different assessment methods can be integrated throughout the learning cycle to enhance teaching and learning. Teachers look at how assessment methods can be used for various purposes as part of regular classroom activities. Self- and peer assessment, student–teacher conferences, and portfolios are examples of effective assessment methods.

Module 4: Assessment Development

Module 4 demonstrates how to plan and develop assessments. Teachers are taken through the steps of developing an assessment plan, which includes an Assessment Timeline. They also create assessments to meet standards, 21st-century skills, and objectives for a unit or project.

Module 5: Assessment in Action

Module 5 provides the opportunity for teachers to create resources to support self- and peer assessment; schedule and integrate assessment into existing classroom activities; and develop materials to help manage, track, and grade assessment. Establishing routines and developing supporting resources can help teachers manage assessment activities and data.

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