The How and Why of Student Learning
If steady progress is the goal, then regular assessment is the means to accomplishing that goal and multiple assessments are the tools. Throughout this website four types of assessment models have been introduced. In each model, quantitative data or qualitative data can be collected. Using several types of assessments best explains the “how and why” of student learning. For example, after using quantitative analysis, a teacher might turn to a qualitative analysis to better understand student learning. Perhaps the teacher had asked the students to document what they had learned through use of a portfolio during the same six-week period. The student learning statements from the portfolio could be compared across the six weeks. The resulting change in learning statements over time might provide a teacher with the evidence of student learning and lend some explanatory power to some of the quantitative results.
For example, if a student in Series 2 stated, “I learned how to hold the audiences focus by staring at the other actor without turning away.” A qualitative analysis would help that student’s teacher understand that students in Series 2 had successfully understood the “establishing actor focus” curriculum better than those in Series 1. This is a beginning piece of evidence towards understanding the effectiveness of student learning through analysis of student assessment results.
A more developed understanding of the effectiveness of student learning might include student comments during the six-week period that began to summarize student learning. For example, a student may say “I wished I had learned more in this course.” Or, “At first I didn’t understand how plays were put together, but over the length of this course, I have come to admire the structure of playwriting. I especially like where conflicts are resolved in the denouement.” This is where the comparison of student assessment results across a variety of assessment models might help a teacher or a theatre education program. Another way to look at comparison assessment tools is shown below:
In the example shown above, teachers choose four assessment methods and the analysis shows that their observation of students yields a lower score than the performance task and portfolio scores, and a considerably lower score than their survey scores. Analyzing the chart above would prompt many questions and review of the differences between student score results on different types of assessment models.