Let’s Talk About Outcomes

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You know, those things we’re all working off even though parents and politicians are desperate for us to put a number or grade on their kids. Outcomes are enormous statements that cover an entire term, semester or even year of work in one precisely crafted package. Luckily various education bodies have spent a lot of time and effort breaking them down and have come up with ‘indicators’ or ‘elaborations’ that are much more doable in a lesson or few.  The outcome is compulsory, the indicators are suggestions.

The point here, is that when you do an individual assessment task using outcomes kids can’t get it a little bit right. It’s a yes/no – they can do it or they can’t. You can either name the common shapes or you can’t, you don’t get it a little bit if you know triangles but not squares.

And this is where the precise crafting comes in, because if you check the outcomes on either side, they will be related and build. That is, they’ll look something like this

  • O2 – can name some of the common shapes (triangle, square, rectangle, circle)
  • O3 – can name all of the common shapes (triangle, square, rectangle, circle)
  • O4 – can name all of the common shapes and some others (triangle, square, rectangle, circle, diamond, hexagon, octagon, pentagon, oval)

So even if you have been programming and teaching purely for O3, you don’t test it. You do an open-ended assessment task and assess O2, 3 and 4 at the same time, ticking one or more of them.


Join the name to the shape

Of course, if someone names the oval and pentagon only where do you put them 😉

At the end of the term/semester when you are giving students an overall assessment you can add up all your little assessment tasks. Mostly 2s and a few 3s? Emerging 3. Mostly 3, a 2 and a 4? Comprehensive 3. And so on.

That’s assessing with outcomes. The rest is all elaboration on that theme.

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