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Redefining Educational Evaluation E.

AN EXAMPLE: THE PLOT STRUCTURED EVALUATION MECHANISM

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Context: What follows is the narrative assessment diagram employed in evaluating a students learning in a grade 10 social studies class. The unit is attached in the appendix of this report for further reference but it mainly covers the mid-1800 immigration of two immigrant groups to Canada: the Irish due to the potato famine and the African Americans because of slavery in the southern United States. The evaluation aims to assess the extent to which: students have used the cognitive tools of Romantic Understanding to derive meaning from the subject; emotional connections have been made with the content; the student makes connections to the subject matter with respect to his/her own life

Emotional connections and engagement with the cognitive tools are important to evaluate because to Egan, the emotion provides the context for the knowledge. Without it the student only makes short term, superficial meaning from the material. If we do not access students emotions, hopes, fears and passions, the student has limited imaginative, thinking potential. Therefore, assessing imaginative engagement is the priority of the evaluation tool used in this report. The diagrams that follow show a plot structure marking scheme completed by a student at the end of a unit. Even though this particular assessment piece comes at the end, the diagram does point to various opportunities for formative assessment throughout the unit. The diagram is intended to be a talking piece for the teacher and the student when they meet at a later time.

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Part E Figure 1: A sample narrative evaluation scheme on a unit from the students perspective. This is also attached in the Appendix of this report.

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Part E Figure 2: A sample narrative evaluation scheme on a unit from the students perspective. This is also attached in the Appendix of this report.

Redefining Educational Evaluation Part E Figure 3a: A Sample Report Card Dear Parents,

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We think of your childs learning and development with respect to the development of an ongoing story. This is why we have included Freytags Plot Pyramid as a reference below for what this development might look like given the learning activities in the classroom. This report card reflects one chapter and that development. We understand that your child is a dynamic individual, constantly changing, thinking and acquiring new skills. We look forward to building on that narrative with them. If you have any questions about this report, or rather chapter, please see your childs teacher directly. CHAPTER 1: STUDENTS NAME GROWS IN UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER CULTURES [TITLE CAN BE GENERATED BY THE TEACHER AND THE STUDENT] SOCIAL STUDIES 10 [CAN BE STATED AS CLASS, THE UNIT OR TOPIC NAME] RECONCILING THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE IN THE 1800S [CAN BE STATED AS THE OVERARCHING CONCEPT FOR THE UNIT(S)] MS. TRACY SMITH & KATIE HOLMES [TEACHER & STUDENTS NAME]

SETTING:

CONFLICT:

POINT OF VIEW:

INTRODUCTION (CONTAINING INTENTIONS OF THE COURSE & LEARNING ACTIVITIES): _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ HOW HAS THIS STUDENT RESPONDED TO CRISIS/LEARNING CHALLENGES OVERALL? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ HOW THE STUDENT HAS GROWN IN UNDERSTANDING OF CONCEPTS: _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT DIRECTION THE STUDENT CAN NOW TAKE: _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________

Redefining Educational Evaluation Part E Figure 3b: A Sample Report Card (subsequent pages) THE TERMS WORK IN RELATION TO [STUDENTS] LEARNING [in Socials 10]
Components of a Story as the principles to Evaluate IE Guiding Questions for this terms report:

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What [student name] and [teachers name] have concluded: Teachers response with respect to the students learning: Students response: Reconciling the 2 Views: Teachers response with respect to the students learning: Students response: Reconciling the 2 Views: Teachers response with respect to the students learning: Students response: Reconciling the 2 Views: Teachers response with respect to the students learning: Students response: Reconciling the 2 Views:

Introduction Hero/heroic quality Setting

To what extent has the student transcended beyond the basic understanding of the concept to something that is wonderful, or heroic? What has the students identified as mysterious about the topic?

Organization of the plot rising action conflict is presented

What tools does the student use best for learning? What binary opposites can they identify within the topic? What metaphors has the student made within the topic?

Characterization appealing to the human emotion

What is the moral of the story within this topic? What connections has the student made to the material in this course with their own life/what they see in the world?

Conflict person vs. person person vs. him/herself person vs. society person vs. environment Resolution

What does the student understand the conflict(s) to be in this unit?

falling action conclusion

Conventions

To what extent has each student gained distance and perspective? To what degree did their shifts in thinking change? What did those shifts look like? What skills the student now possesses: deductive reasoning skills abstract thinking proper paragraph writing Quantitative Marks for this Term: Tests/Quizzes: Essays: Projects:

Teachers response with respect to the students learning: Students response: Reconciling the 2 Views:

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DISCUSSION: HOW THE NARRATIVE STRUCTURE ALIGNS WITH IE The narrative structure is helpful for teachers in that it organizes all the cognitive tools from a Romantic Understanding framework unit according to how a student has used them to derive meaning. Therefore, the progression of learning activities in which that meaning was made could potentially be different for each student. The slope and direction of the diagram keeps the teacher mindful of the fact that the learning activities should continue to lead to higher level understandings of the curricular content while developing other skills such as oral and written communication, research and collaboration with other students. The linear nature of the diagram does not suggest that learning is a linear progression. It is only meant to illustrate that higher level understandings have resulted from tool use. When tools are absent from the diagram, it suggests that this student has outgrown a tool and requires a more sophisticated one. The emphasis on implementing the appropriate cognitive tools is specific to IE. In IE it is absolutely necessary that tool unlock the thinking, or rather imaginative capacities in students. In saying this the evaluation model has the added effect of being a helpful feedback devise for the teacher; the teacher knows which tools to use more or less of in the next lesson he/she designs. The student is sending a very powerful message to the teacher when she/he includes specific lesson activities on their evaluation plot diagram. The student is implicitly saying, I learn/dont learn when we do this or This was difficult for me because I didnt know how to do this yet. The model allows for a high degree of agency that is missing in some existing evaluation schemes today; students not only have a voice in their evaluation but also become co-constructors of lesson plans.

The narrative structure lends itself to multimodal assessment practices by the teacher. These assessments collect both qualitative and quantitative data on the students progress while also

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incorporating his/her voice in the evaluation. The plot structure suggests that assessments should be on-going, where the teacher is particularly in touch with each students individual learning progress. A teacher who completes this evaluation piece is essentially telling a story of the students conceptual development over a period of time, in a particular class. In the student-teacher meetings the two engage in a discussion about the two perspectives on a story. The dialogue is non-threatening because it takes the form similar to a small book club meeting. Just as book clubs gather to discuss the development of the plot and characters of a novel, the teacher and the student meet with the same intent. It contains the same critical lens and both the teacher and students perspectives carry the same weight in the evaluation. Madaus and Kellaghan refer to this method of evaluation more specifically as the, Expository Storytelling method of program evaluation. Portraiture is a genre whose methods are shaped by empirical and aesthetic dimensions, whose descriptions are often penetrating and personal, whose goals include generous and tough scrutiny. It is a sensitive kind of work that requires perceptivity and skill of a practiced observer and the empathy and care of a clinician. Lightfoot, 1983, p. 369 in Stufflebeam,1980, p. 30 Approaching parent-teacher dialogue in this manner promotes a holistic view of the students abilities, strengths and challenges. It gives a more descriptive and compelling story of the students actual journey. Conclusion A narrative assessment structure is the most fitting because it reminds teachers and parents of a bigger scheme or journey that has yet to unfold. Just as a good book has us turning pages, riveted by the plot and waiting on the edge of our seats about the next steps the character takes, a teacher, too, is as devoted to the development of their students narrative path. This narrative assessment structure draws teachers in emotionally because at the base of every assessment should be a mindfulness that we are evaluating the learning of people. If we think of our students as characters in a story, we are

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reminded that characters are dynamic; they have histories and live in larger contexts beyond what might be of our limited experience of them.

This model looks primarily at how the student has used the cognitive tools because to Egan, the imaginative approach to education emphasizes teaching and learning focused on the acquisition of the main cognitive tools that connect students imaginations with the knowledge in the curriculum, on the one hand, and enhances the powers of their brains in general, on the other. One important contribution that developing imagination makes to thought is to increase its flexibility, creativity and energy. The aim of IE is much more knowledgeable students who are able to think flexibly, creatively, and with energy about the knowledge they gain about the world and experience. (Egan, 2005, p. 9) The proposed evaluation model attempts to align itself with IEs principle value of meaning making through tool use in order to increase the imaginative thinking potential in students. Those types of understandings do not occur unless the emotion is the centre of teaching and learning. For that reason an assessment tool that focuses on emotional engagement with the curriculum is key to evaluating a successful IE program.

Redefining Educational Evaluation Appendices Appendix 1: 1800s Immigration in Canada: A Romantic Planning Framework Appendix 2: Student Generated Story Structure Evaluation Tool Appendix 3: Teacher Generated Story Structure Evaluation Tool Appendix 4: A Sample Report Card

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Redefining Educational Evaluation


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