Assessing Standards-Based Learning in Student Video Inquiry Projects
Portfolio Assessment and Youth Media Documentary Arts Programs at EVC
The Premiere ScreeningA Public Celebration of the Groups Final Product
About 25 years ago, in the early days of EVC we were having great success teaching students to create documentaries and present them at big premiere screenings. Students attended our afterschool workshops for 4 afternoons per week, 3 hours per day for 15 weeks earning credit for their time and these screenings were the culminating celebrations. They still are! So when we were asked us to evaluate the impact of our program, wed say, Just look at their documentary their final group product that contains all the evidence of their skills, knowledge and competencies.
But assessing the final group product is not enough. What did each student learn through the process of creating it?
Then a funder challenged me on this. She said, Yes, their tape is really great. But its not the complete picture. How do you know what the students learned through the process? What evidence can you show me from this group project of what individual students now know and can do as a result of your program? Not only we couldnt clearly articulate what the kids were learning. Neither could they. When we asked them what they learned, theyd say- To make a video. And schools asked us for more evidence of their learning in order to grant credit. So, with assistance from Bill Tally, Senior Researcher at the Center for Children and Technology, we began to slow down and look more closely at all the incremental steps of the creative process, the small projects and the skills that went into them that contributed to the large project, look at the work for evidence to assess student learning. And we came to portfolios as a means to do it. 3
Portfolios collections of student workBut theyre messy and time consuming. Why bother?
They give us a richer, more authentic picture of how and what students learn over time
Build students sense of ownership over their learning and habits of self-reflection
Provide important feedback on how to continually improve our media arts curriculum and teaching
Engage the broader community in public conversation about student learning and creative work
This was the early 1990s and their was a lot of writing and growing interest in portfolios, and later digital portfolios, in arts education and in education reform more broadly. Portfolios as collecting student work really came from the arts, collections of drawings and painting, and from writers saving their drafts of writing. There was push back on portfolios then, and still is today because they are messy and the criteria are not consistent. and time consuming And there is no question they are. That is a challenge and constraint. But they also (see slide)
So while we know we need to answer funders questions of how we evaluate the impact we have on our students learning, we really do this primarily for our students, And for school principals and teachers who are granting students credit for their work at EVC. And it also benefits us and our staff and external stakeholders including funders. 4
We ask students to collect a range of work as evidence of revision and growth over time, aligned to EVCs 4 main Rubric Domains:Documentary ArtsCritical LiteracyCivic EngagementSocial Emotional Development
In our work at EVC, its really not about the portfolios by themselves Its the thinking and conversations they provoke for us since they are closely linked to the curriculum and instruction. So we have to be clear about what we are teaching and what we expect kids to come away knowing in order to know what counts as evidence of learning. And this may vary across organization and school, but with us we feel its important to teach the whole child and so we take an interdisciplinary approach using rubrics in 4 domains. We make these public and review them with the students at various intervals throughout the semester. 5
Looking for Authentic Evidence in Youth Producer Artifacts
Project TreatmentCamera FootageInterview Questions and Logs Research Notes and EmailsEdit PlanRough Cuts and NotesMusic TracksJournals, Blogs, PodcastsSelf-Assessment RubricsPortfolio Cover Letter
We closely examine the evolving quality of work each student creates through their doc production, and ask them to as well. And then within each area, as a staff we listed all the things we ask students to create along their journey to producing their documentary. Authentic evidence in the sense that they arent asked to take a special test. They need to know how to create these things in order to create a high quality documentary, and be reflective about it. So this is a partial list of the work they produce. And with each one, they have to create drafts to improve their quality. Examining these evolving drafts of work, students look for evidence of their learning and skill development.
As I mentioned before, it is really only possible for the kids to create the artifacts we ask them to collect in their portfolios if the curriculum and the teaching is aligned with your rubrics and portfolios. Students learn best about the aesthetics involved in framing, lighting, composing images if they have multiple opportunities to shoot and then watch back and critique their footage. Or to tell an artful story through their video they need in the class for rough cut critique sessions, etc. So we work at weaving the practice of self assessment and reflection into instruction throughout the process. We work at building a culture of reflection and assessment. 6
Portfolio Assessment RoundtablesWe Build A Reflective and Deliberative Community
Drafts Over TimeDiverse Panel Structured, In-Depth Conversation About Student WorkOwnership of their Learning
After we have our final screening, each student is required to present evidence of their learning in two of the four domains. They have to select at least 3 different artifacts showing progress over time, with a cover letter for the panelists. In their presentation, they might show clips for example, Here is the first time I used the camera, the framing was off, it was backlit, the next time I did a hand held shot. And this is the shot Im most proud of because. We invite a panel of guest for each student, that may include a teacher, family member, EVC staff and sometimes a professional media artist or college professor. We structure the hour long conversation with a protocol of what we call warm and cool feed back. And stress the students ownership over their own learning. In assessing he work, panelists link what they see to the appropriate rubric. They may present on their camerawork, editing, interviewing, etc. 7
EVCs Principles and Practices of Portfolio Assessment
Assessment is for studentsPuts focus on creative process revision, experimentation, and growth over timeIs faithful to the work students actually doMakes standards and expectations of quality publicEngages all students in a deliberative communityPromotes ongoing self reflection, goal setting, and critical inquiry
This work is animated by a set of underlying principles and practices. (see slide)8
Visit our website our the Impact page, to view an example of an EVC Portfolio Roundtable:
For more information aboutAssessment and Youth Media Documentary Arts Programs at EVC, visit www.EVC.org or contact:
Steve Goodman Executive Director212.465.9366 Sgoodman@evc.org
I encourage you when you get a chance, to watch the video listed here at this link. Its only 8 minutes long, but it gives you a snapshot of the process. 2 of our workshop students a few years ago presenting their portfolios. I hope we can carry on this conversation as a group about portfolios and authentic assessment of youth media work and learning. 9