Topics in Secondary Ed: Using Project and Peformance to Check for Understanding

March 4, 2011

Using projects and performance to check for understanding are important methods that are often under utilized in the teacher environment. By using these mthods, teachers would be able to reach students that may not benefit from environments that are less active and less engaging on a personal level. By using projects and performance, students would be able to invest personally in what they’re working on.

Making learning appropriate goals is an important method by which to design these projects and performances around. If the lessons doesn’t have an appropriate goal, students would simply be going through the motions. For example, if presenting a lesson on mask making in indigenous African tribes in an art class, it would be important for the students to not only make the masks, but adaquately understand the cultural significance behind them. This includes learning their purpose, their history, etc.

Using performance based assessment would be difficult in an art classroom. Surely, there may be students who identify with performance art, or art that includes the artist being an active participant in the work. However, it would probably be more prudent to say that the bulk of teacher assessment would consist of projects from students. By being able to properly utilize skills assigned for practice in smaller, more concise projects that lead to larger ones, I could properly assess at each level how much each student understands. For example, in teaching the students how to properly utilize 1 point, 2 point, and then 3 point perspective, there would be three levels of assesment. They would begin at the most basic level, 1 point, where they utilize a few skills to properly render certain objects. Students would then move up to 2 point, and then to 3. At these various levels, I could check for understanding and properly assist students at each level.


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