Week 9: What assessments will I use in my UBD Unit, and what is the purpose of these assessments?

For my unit, I will have students do performance assessments and self-assessments. According to Burns, my performance assessments will be based on what is called calculation task, and design task.  A calculation task is when you can draw sound conclusions from data, and a design task is when you basically apply theoretical understanding to real-life situations. (Burns, 2015)  My unit will be based on two-variable data and students will need to fit an appropriate linear regression model to make inferences.

I liked the ideas presented by Darling-Hammond in her video “How Should We Measure Student Learning? 5 Keys to Comprehensive Assessment”.  The first key is that we should have goals and ways to measure them.  The second key is to have formative assessments.  The third key is to have summative assessments.  The fourth key is to have performance assessments.  The last key to to have students own their learning.  (2015)  Although I will not formally have formative assessments, one area that I have been intrigued with is using clickers (student response system).  I did a little research and found that multiple choice assessments done correctly can help drastically with formative assessments. (Brahme, 2013; Mahon, 2016)  The key is to write multiple choice questions that use higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, which can be difficult, and that is one reason for not using them in my unit at this time, but I do plan on developing this unit each year to incorporate clickers!

Popham describes in his article about criterion-based and norm-based measurements and how they differ.  It was interesting to read about it, and I don’t particularly like the idea of a norm-based measurement.  I think being a mathematics teacher, it’s easy to quantify what a student has learned, and therefore a little easier to understand a criterion-based measurement.  I believe the performance assessment I will be using is considered criterion-based.  I have specific items students will need to include in their assessment to determine their overall “grade”, and it will not be based on the performance of other students at all.  I believe this is the best way to assess them.  It is possible for every one of my students to receive an “excellent” grade, and I will not “curve” their scores at all.

I will be having students also take self-assessments, basically filling out a rubric of their overall experience with the performance assessments at the end the unit.  I think it’s important for them to reflect on the unit and how they see their overall understanding of what they learned.  It will be a simple self-assessment, and it will also allow me to see how I can tweak the unit in the future.

It was fascinating to read Kohn’s article on cheating.  One of the reasons to have a performance assessment that is criterion-based will be to allow students to do their best regardless of their classmates’ abilities.  Kohn states:

“Competition is perhaps the single most toxic ingredient to be found in a classroom, and it is also a reliable predictor of cheating. Grades are bad enough, for example, but the practice of grading on a curve — or ranking students against one another — is much worse.” (2007)

I hope these assessments will accomplish my goal of knowing if students understand a great unit on learning how to make inferences based on two variables from real-world data.  I love statistics and it is just one of the math content areas that are truly used by many careers, not just mathematicians, engineers, and scientists.


Brame, Cynthia.  (2013) Writing good multiple choice test questions. Retrieved from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/writing-good-multiple-choice-test-questions/.

Burns, Victoria. (2015) 53 Interesting Ways to Assess Your Students. UAS eBook Collection

Darling-Hammond, Linda. (2015) How Should We Measure Student Learning? 5 Keys to Comprehensive Assessment.  Edutopia. . Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/comprehensive-assessment-introduction

Kohn, Alfie. (2007). Who’s Cheating Whom? Phi Delta Kappan. Retrieved from: http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/whos-cheating

Mahon, Karen L. (2016) 12 Best Practices Student Response Systems. BOXLIGHT Mimio. [PDF] Retrieved from https://mimio.boxlight.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/MC095_Excerpt_Whitepaper_12BestPracticesStudentResponse.pdf

Popham, James W. (2014). Criterion-Referenced Measurement: Half a Century Wasted? Educational Leadership. Vol. 71. Issue 6



One thought on “Week 9: What assessments will I use in my UBD Unit, and what is the purpose of these assessments?

  1. I have also looked into clickers. I do not know what school I will be teaching at next year, but it would be nice to try and incorporate clickers into lessons. From what I read about clickers, they give teachers immediate feedback and can help steer a lesson at any point. I think I would use them a lot in math. Sometimes I will be teaching a lesson and it can be hard to tell which students understand the information and which ones are going with the motions. With a clicker I could get a clearer picture of how much more teaching needs to happen.


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