Chapter 5: Evidence of Learning


Think about the evidence of learning you and your students will be able to collect. Consider observations, products, and conversations. Make a list of all the evidence related to the learning destination. When you are finished, review the list, asking yourself: Will my evidence show whether or not students have learned what they needed to learn? Is there any evidence I am collecting for which I am not accountable? Am I collecting evidence from multiple sources? Am I collecting enough evidence to see patterns over time? Am I collecting too much evidence? Is there anything I can stop collecting? How can my students be involved in collecting and organizing the evidence?

In this chapter, Anne Davies explores the topic “evidence of learning.” Davies states that evidence of learning must “ensure validity and reliability” (45). Evidence can be collected from three sources: “observations of learning, products students create, and conversations with students about learning” (45). Davies explains that when evidence is gathered from observations, products and conversations, trends in learning become obvious. The process of collecting evidence from the three sources is called triangulation.  Davies compares reliability with repeatability, because students should be able to show the same type of results from different times. In order for evidence to be valid, it should be collected from multiple sources. Observations should have a specific focus in order to be valid. Products should give student choice in order to allow for multiple intelligences. Conversations are simply the students’ ability to articulate learning with the teacher. Davies suggests to always compare the evidence of learning to the curriculum guides in order to clearly assess and evaluate learning.

To show evidence of learning students can:

  • use diagrams or pictures
  • create timelines
  • make posters
  • write stories, plays, prose, poetry or songs
  • prepare oral presentations (speeches, personal narratives, personal autobiographies, stories/plays/prose/poetry/songs, essays, etc.)
  • create or build a model or diorama
  • design a web page (for journals, responses, posting essays or other student work)
  • make a video, iMovie or recording (record skits, giving instructions, oral presentations, oral fluency, demonstrations, etc.)
  • design clothing or other interior pieces (to represent meaning or connections to the material)
  • write an essay
  • write a report (an observational report or eye witness account, book report, etc.)
  • create a collage or other artwork
  • write journal responses (in a notebook or on from an online account)
  • complete an annotation of a piece
  • complete reader response questions from the material
  • use different critical lenses to create/complete a project (using social justice perspectives: class, race, sexual orientation, religion, or gender theory, etc.)
  • participating in class discussions
  • creating visual and/or word clouds
  • creating a classroom magazine or newspaper
  • conducting a research project
  • combining different products to create a portfolio (best work, work in progress, etc.)

Based on the flexibility of the renewed outcomes for high school English, the evidence from the above list should show that students are learning the material that has been determined necessary to be learned. Some of the evidence listed about can arguably hold the teacher accountable, while other activities suggest that the teacher will not be accountable. For example, a non-specified research project would be accountable to the student to conduct and demonstrate learning. Upon examining the above list of types of evidence, there appears to be several different Multiple Intelligences evident in the activities, such as visual, audio, interpersonal and intrapersonal, kinaesthetic, and linguistic. I plan to collect a variety and an abundance of evidence of learning, of which I will use more assessment than evaluations, in order to help recognize patterns in learning over time. I will not collect evidence (observations, products or conversations) in every class, but I will be able to recognize that students are making improvements over time. I like to collect journal entries at the end of several weeks and entrance or exit slips in order to recap the material and refresh the learning for students. These will be examples of my assessments. I will have my students active in collecting and organizing the evidence by allowing them to have choice in projects or assignments from Multiple Intelligences and having them self-assess different activities before including it in a portfolio or simply handing the assignment in. I understand that this is not a comprehensive list, and I plan to add to as my teaching career develops.

My questions for you: how do you know when you are collecting too much evidence? Can a new teacher collect too much evidence?

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