Computer Science Formative Assessment Design

This is a final draft of a formative assessment for assessing computational thinking in KG3 and G1. As I learn more, I have made some updates, which are highlighted in green; however, my goal remains the same: to develop a formative assessment that computational thinking in KG3 and G1. In this iteration, I have added some specific digital technologies that will support implementation.


The purpose of this assessment is to identify if a child has mastered basic computational thinking skills for the grade level, to provide information to future teachers, and to provide a new context for students to apply their knowledge. It 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, functioning as a guided self-assessment. 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. In this version, I have encouraged teachers to only focus on the first 3 items in the first assessment period. It would be unrealistic to expect all skills to be covered in the first 3 months of KG3. These tasks have been further rearranged into 2 distinct activities: one paper-based supported with video recording and a second activity focused on using the BeeBots to demonstrate knowledge.

Assessment Page 1

It is essential that it is the student’s self-assessment that is driving the conversation. Van den Burghe, Ros, and Beijaard (2013) emphasize Hattie and Timperley (2007) to “state that the purpose of feedback is to reduce the discrepancies between the students’ current understanding or performance and the understanding or performance that is aimed at” (p. 345). I want this conversation to help students identify successes and necessary improvements to their performance.

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. Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick (2006) have also identified that self-assessment integrated with teacher feedback was more effective at fixing errors and inspiring growth. Through this activity, I would like students to recognize the areas where they have a solid understanding of the concept and identify an area where they have not yet mastered the goal. Together with the dialogue from the teacher and subsequent small group sessions, students will make progress towards mastering the computational thinking objectives.

This assessment utilizes digital tools in two ways. Because the assessment is looking at computational thinking skills, it makes sense to integrate the Beebots into this assessment. In this context, Beebots are the tool that is most appropriate and readily available for showcasing these skills. Beebots are a familiar resource for students and teachers and contain all the functions necessary to demonstrate age-appropriate computational thinking skills. Additionally, this version of the assessment adds a video reflection to Task 1. Finding errors in a sequence and correcting it is a challenging skill. This assessment is meant to foster a conversation between teacher and student and I believe that conversation would be most appropriate to have after the student has experimented and tried on their own. To give the child space to focus and make adjustments, a video recording will allow teachers to go back and have a conversation with the student while pausing to clarify thinking and offer feedback.

References:

Nicol, D., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199–218.

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

Van den Berghe, L., Ros, A., & Beijaard, D. (2013). Teacher feedback during active learning: Current practices in primary schools. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 341-362. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8279.2012.02073.x

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

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