In 21st century learning, the task of learning is never finished. Educators must transition from simply being the vessel of knowledge to the facilitator of thinking. Students must continually engage with the content and apply a critical analysis of it and the world that surrounds it. Because of this, all of my assessments focus on improvement. When I cast the school play festival, every student is asked about what type of part they would like to have in the play. The students need to indicate why this part will help them improve as an actor.
In addition to my assessment of student work (which focuses on growth and strengths of the student so that they can build on their capacity) students are expected to assess their own understanding of their skill abilities and self-select into aspects of potential improvement. This allows them to set goals for their work and sets the figurative stage for dialogue about the student work. By encouraging student voice and asking for student input on improvement, the conversation is about growth and not about an abstract score.
Another way that the idea of improvement appears in my classroom, is through multiple perspectives. Because theatre is experienced differently by each member of the audience (or the classroom in my case) improvement is also relative. I frequently allow students to give constructive feedback on possible improvement to other students. It is often the case that the feedback from one student to the next conflicts and the conversation becomes about what would improvement really look like for the individual student. From style to interpretation, improvement in theatre is a matter of perspective. The conversation about those multiple perspectives demonstrates to students that there are multiple ways to improve and evolve their work.
Associated Links: Student Feedback – Inquiry Based Learning – Collaboration