Today I turned the picture on its head.
My students have been working on a unit about the Middle Ages in Social Studies for the last several weeks. Much of the unit has been wide open. We looked at the provincial outcomes before we started, formed 3 large groups of people (serfs, nobles, and churchpeople; knights, warfare, and the crusades; science, technology, and art). From this point, the kids had to come up with a smaller topic (how were knights trained? How was stained glass made? What was medievel healthcare like?) and complete a form of representation (powerpoint show, poster, essay, fictional story, video, podcast, etc., etc.) each week. We focused on techniques of gathering information, forming knowledge, and telling truth from fiction online.
So today, looking at everything they have completed over the last three weeks, they each started to write their own final test for the unit. The test is composed of three parts: Section A is 30 marks of questions required on each and every test. Standard stuff. Explain the feudal system. Draw a manor. etc. Section B was required topics. They had to come up with a total of 30 marks looking at the four topics of: religion, famous people, health and hygeine, and entertainment. Section C is wide open. What can you show me that you know? The questions must add up to 30 marks and cover at least three topics. Of course I get the final say over their test, approving and disapproving questions that are not acceptable; but it looks like their tests will be much more interesting then anything I ever could have come up with.
I also told my students today that my role in this is not to play the mark fairy dancing around and showering them with marks; this still must match provincial outcomes and the questions must be rigorous and in-depth. It is an interesting turn of evaluation.
They will work on their pieces for another day or two until the final test is complete and then write them on Friday. If anyone has experience with testing it is students. Trust them to design their own.