Designing Formative Assessment

I recently gave a professional development session about computational thinking and BeeBots because teachers were unsure of the terminology in the curriculum, lacked confidence with the tools (BeeBots, BlueBots, etc.), and were not sure how to assess these skills. As I reflect on what I’m learning about assessment, I would like to develop an assessment that KG3 could use for assessing computational thinking by using BeeBots.

Figure 1: Wuxi Nanwai King’s College School Curriculum Framework (2019) for KG3 Science: Design and Technology.

The purpose of this assessment is to identify if a child has mastered basic computational thinking skills for the grade level. This assessment will serve as a benchmark and moment for comparison across the year. The KG3 curriculum is adapted from the UK Key Stage 1 curriculum and is expected to be mastered by the end of Grade 1, so having an assessment before the end of KG3 would help Grade 1 teachers know what background knowledge to expect.

The assessment I created is titled I Can Do Computer Science. It is meant to foster a conversation between teacher and student to identify if the student is proficient in the skill. As a result of the conversation, the child should mark the box with an I for Independent; H for With Help, or NY for Not Yet.

Figure 2

This checklist is accompanied by instructions for setting up the environment to help provide consistency across classrooms and grade levels.

Figure 3

This assessment encourages students to demonstrate their knowledge by applying it to new activities. These tasks would be similar to class activities, but using different sequences and mats. In Kindergarten, social constructivist mindsets are pervasive and we want to see children learning through interactions with their peers and with their teachers. This assessment is designed to require children to work together, but also as a framework for activities that a teacher can use to foster a conversation about computational thinking skills. As Shepard (2000) shared in her AERA presidential address, the emergent paradigm for assessment needs to involve active engagement in an authentic experience and builds upon what the child already knows. By creating new situations for children to demonstrate their knowledge, we give them opportunities to correct misunderstandings, transfer skills to new tasks, and accomplish meaningful tasks that will hopefully inspire learning to continue.

References:

Shepard, L. A. (2000). “The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14. Retrieved from https://journals-sagepub.com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/doi/pdf/10.3102/0013189X029007004

Wuxi Nanwai King’s College School. (2019). Kindergarten Curriculum Framework Implementation Version.

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