Our question: How to assess collaborative problem-solving?
- In the first lesson, we thought about assessing before and after collaborative problem-solving.
- In the second lesson, we explored alternating more systematically between solo and collaboration, maximising the benefits of both.
- In the third lesson, we shall develop a possible framework for assessing collaborative problem-solving.
I spoke to Zek, art teacher, about how to assess problem-solving. Assessing a mathematical journey is very similar to assessing a portfolio of artwork?
- Keep the checklist as short as possible.
- Don’t always try to prescribe numerical values to everything, you might kill it.
- Assess a portfolio over time, to clearly evidence improvement
- 50% through traditional written exam, to measure mastery of standard content
- 50% through assessment of collaborative problem-solving. This is split between measuring how the student works within a group, and measuring how the student writes up problems individually, after having struggled on them within a group. Portfolio of work over time.
With pretty colours:
No help given from teachers at all.
- Each of the three teachers observed two groups of 3 students, noting down examples of kindness, self-awareness and spark.
- Students write up the problem, individually
- Teachers give live feedback on the write-ups, assessing for self-awareness, understanding and rigour.
Examples of work:
- Kindness and awareness are too similar? Merge into one, and instead, assess the application of problem-solving tools? For example, W kept on saying “Okay, so how can we make this problem easier?”, deliberately stealing the key question from previous problem-solving sessions.
- Were the students pressurised by having three teachers strolling around assessing? Is this a bad thing?
- Should we decide what amazing problem-solving is a priori, or by watching teachers/students/PHD students attack a problem, and note down what they do well?
- Observe more problem-solving, fighting the temptation to leap in and guide. Watch for generalisable techniques that excellent problem-solvers exhibit.
- Try in other subjects, not just Maths.
- Try in the summer exams! Utilise the opportunity that no public exams in Yr12 has given us.