The Value of Tutorials as Assessments

As I searched and pondered for ways to use the iPad and not rely so much on textbooks, I finally gave in to the nudging of my past and present coaches to have the students create tutorials to prove their knowledge of the material that I have taught.  I don’t know why, but I am always very apprehensive to try new things, so I had to make myself do this.

Much to my surprise, I was the only anxious one.  The students didn’t complain or question the assignment at all.  They just did it and the results were amazing.

In Social Studies class, we began with a class discussion.  I asked the students to help me list the different topics that we had studied the first nine weeks.  Then I told them to choose one (or more if they were really motivated) and created a slideshow using Pixie to show their knowledge of the topic(s).  I assigned this as homework and I gave them approximately a week to complete the task.

The day they were due, the students shared their final products.  It was clear to me who had the best grasp of the topics and who lacked some understanding.  As the slideshows were critiqued, not one student was rude or mean to the students who made mistakes.  (Latitude and longitude were one of the skills and, as you can imagine, this confused some of the kids.)  At the end of the presentations the students all clapped and told each other that they had done a good job.

There was no test, but the amount of effort and knowledge of the topics was evident to me.

In Math, I had the students create a tutorial explaining multiplication with large numbers the “Singapore Way”. Once again, it was an eye-opener.  I had the students share their tutorials, but when they introduced the problem, I paused the video and had the class also solve the problem.  This gave them a little more reinforcement with the skill.  Most students did a great job, only one had given the wrong answer in their tutorial, but he immediately, saw his problem. Ironically, he is one of my “top” students. We also discussed what makes a good tutorial. The students who illustrated each step, realized that they had done a great job explaining the process.  The students who only gave the answers to each step realized that they needed to add more next time.

The most amazing thing about the tutorials was that the student’s personalities really shined through.  Two of my most reserved students did a terrific job with their projects.  Not only did they do a great job explaining the process of multiplying, but their sense of humor was very apparent, so much so that after the tutorials were over, the class begged to see them again because they were so enjoyable.

I really think that this is one of the best forms of assessment that I have ever used.  Not only did I SEE what the students know, but I “SAW into each student” which is something that doesn’t happen when I give a multiple choice test!

View tutorials: (and YES I know the word “digit” was misspelled, but the skill of multiplying is there!)




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November 2013
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