Saturday, April 19, 2014

Personalized Assessments & Learning Animals

My 22-month old daughter plays a game on Momma's iPhone called "Animals".  It's a multiple-choice animal-identification game.  The game displays three-five different animals and asks for one animal to be identified.  The game rotates different animals each time.

What intrigued me most about this game is how the number of options fluctuates based on the performance of the student.  The student starts off selecting from two animals.  Once they have correctly answered three consecutive attempts, the game provides three animals to choose from.  This pattern continues, up to five animals.

If the student selects the incorrect animal, the game automatically decreases the number of options by one, requiring the three-consecutive correct-answer pattern again.

The "assessment" is personalized based off the "skill-level" of the student.

Which, of course, got me thinking of how this same strategy could and should be implemented in our classrooms.

I'm not attempting to promote multiple-choice assessments, but in today's education filled with high-stakes testing, we can at least begin personalizing our assessments.

The logistics of incorporating this type of assessment may be a challenge, but the overall tiered-MC concept is simple: If you demonstrate success at one-level of assessment, the difficulty increases within the assessment.  If necessary, the difficulty-level of the assessment is adjusted, based off of student performance (or knowledge, if you wish).

One group of teachers I work with used a related strategy on a four-option multiple-choice assessment: The students were shown their incorrect responses and were allowed to select an answer from the remaining three options.  This strategy was very simple to implement from a grading/logistical standpoint and has a similar ideology.

We used to call these strategies differentiation.

Now we call it personalized learning.

And my daughter is learning her animals.

Thanks for reading,


The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

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