By Rebecca Itow and Dan Hickey
On June 7, 2012, we hosted Bloomington’s first Hackjam in conjunction with the Monroe County Public Library. In our initial recount of the day’s events, we mentioned that we used artifact reflection and digital badges as ways of gauging, evaluating, and rewarding progress in each activity. In this post, we will explain how and why we chose to use reflection and badges as forms of assessment. To read more about the theory of badges as Transformative Assessment, read our June 10 blog post.
Assess Reflections Rather than Artifacts
We have been struggling for several years to refine practices for assessing artifacts that students create. It seems pretty clear that badges are going to highlight a problem that teachers and proponents of portfolio assessment deal with all the time: rubrics. If you attach consequences to the quality of student artifacts, there is a natural tendency to demand detailed rubrics and individualized feedback as to whether the artifact matches what is demanded by the rubric. Most learning environments are more concerned with the learning embodied by the artifact than by the artifact itself. So focusing so much on the artifact and the rubric can be quite problematic.