Monday, October 11, 2010

How Do I Evaluate Them?

Friday October 8 a tweet of @tucksoon caught my eye. He asked How Would You Assess This?

If YouTube is blocked and you cannot watch the video, Click Here.

The link in the tweet takes us to a post in the blog Education Stormfront. The author of the post is crudbasher who describes himself as "a Teacher and Education Futurist at Full Sail University". Two main points are made by crudbasher: 1) The skills and knowledge of Yeol Eum Sum cannot be evaluated by standardized tests that are the mainstay of education today and 2) the internet and the new communication tools will allow the Yeols of the world to interact with equally creative souls resulting in an "outburst of creativity ... like nothing since the Renaissance".

A Similar Question from Me

How also would you evaluate the teaching skills of two of my undergraduate students who assist me in EDM310? I have three undergraduate assistants who manage the EDM310 lab and assist me in commenting on student blogs. Last Friday I saw a comment left by Anthony Capps and Stephen Akins on the blog of Carey Dekle. If YouTube is blocked for you, Click Here. Carey had watched Wendy Drexler's The Networked Student (if YouTube is blocked, click here) and a video by one of Wendy's 7th grade students entitled My Personal Learning Environment. If YouTube is blocked, Click Here. Here is the comment left by Anthony on Carey's Blog:

Hi Carey,

Your response was a little against the grain in contrast to some of your peers... So Stephen and I decided to make a podcast response to it. Please watch our response by following this link.

We have a question for you at the end, please respond in this thread or with your own video which you can post on my blog!


Watch the video Stephen and Anthony made. Then answer my original question: How would you evaluate Anthony and Stephen if you were assessing their teaching skills. I might say that their response to Carey was spontaneous and had not been encouraged or condoned by me. But I did react in an additional comment on Carey's post and in an email to Anthony and Stephen. Here's what I said to Carey (and Anthony and Stephen): "You are really lucky to get a 'non-traditional' comment on your blog post. A podcast reply! My responses have been just text. Anthony and Stephen have set an example, however, that I must learn from.

I am eager to read/hear/watch your response. How will you reply?"

Standardized test? Impossible. But I can and did evaluate Stephen and Anthony. And you did too if you followed this story. And you would be delighted to have them teaching with you, wouldn't you? Even they have no degree and are merely undergraduates.

Another question. How would you evaluate the 7th grader? My students, after watching her video, indicated that her PLE was a lot better than their PLNs. Of course. That's what I intended. They have another 8 weeks to continue working on their PLNs before I evaluate them (without a standardized test, I might add). And they have a lifetime to continue making their PLNs more powerful and important.

This is what we need to foster. And if we must change our evaluation techniques to do that we better start immediately!


  1. Youtube is blocked at my school :( as it is for a lot of schools. Maybe you can also post these videos on Vimeo which seems to be blocked less often?

  2. Yesterday, Carey caught me in the hall and exclaimed how she intended to make a response video when she figures out how. After a few pointers, we went our separate ways and I got to thinking... I thought how great it would be to do that for every student. And then I realized how impractical it was. I don't think they would appreciate having to watch a six minute video response every time they made a post, and I can't think of an efficient way to make a six minute video response for each student. After all this, I concluded that multimedia productions require responses that are just that-- multimedia. Sometimes video responses are appropriate (certainly fun), sometimes an image will suffice, but other times, just plain text is the best route to take.

    In regards to assessing Yeol Eum Sum's, "Winter Wind" I initially wouldn't have known where to begin. But just today, Dr. Strange was telling me how important it is to do some research into the background of what I am viewing. So the questions I want answered are these: How old is she? Who are her peers? What did their performances look like? What does she aspire to do with her talents? How can she improve to be qualified to do what she aspires to? These are the questions that I want to know in order to assess her fairly. However, my reaction is simply this, utter amazement.

    Anthony Capps

  3. Since posting my last comment, I have quickly found that in the video, she is 19 years old. I also learned that her name is not, Sum, but actually, Son. She is now 23 and is from Korea where she studied under Dae Jin Kim. She is now studying in Germany with Arie Vardi. She has been invited to play seemingly everywhere including the United Nations Summit.

    I am no longer concerned with how to assess someone of her talent, because she seems to be the pinnacle of her field. My question is, how was her potential for this kind of talent recognized before she became sensational? Who was responsible for grooming her?


  4. Thought-provoking post John and Anthony. This is so very relevant for the arts. I think of the best assessment techniques as multifaceted and individalized. It is a daunting task to provide formative assessment to each and every student; but rewarding when learners reach the level of intrinsic motivation where assessment is not the driving force for their engagement.

  5. Thanks, Paige. I am going to all comments this week with 4 or 5 different video posts. It will be interesting to see how it works. We'll post about it.