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November 19, 2004     Cape Gazette
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i) m mr CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Nov. 19 - Nov. 22, 2004 - 117 SCHO(,L & "EDUCATION I a Besche crowned 2004 homecoming queen at W. Virginia University Brian Persinger photo West Virginia University's newly crowned 2004 homecoming queen, Sara Besche, is accom- panied by her uncle, James Besche, and grandmother, Dolores Besche, during halftime festiv- ities at the Nov. 6 WVU-Temple football game. Sara, daughter of Tom and Cathy Besche, is a senior interior design major from Geox'getown. She participates in student government, Alpha Phi sorority and Habitat for Humanity. Other activities include the American Society of Interior Designers; Phi Upsilon Omicron, a family and consumer sciences honorary socie- ty; Gamma Beta Phi Society, a service group; and National Exemplary Scholars in Service. She was named to the WVU dean's and president's lists. On Nov. 6, Sara Besche, a 2001 graduate of Sussex Central High School, was crowned as 2004- homecoming queen at West Virginia University. She was escorted by her uncle, Jay Besche, and her gl:andmother, Dolores Besche. Besche was selected for the homecoming court from among the university's more than 25,000 students. Each fall, the university selects five king and queen candi- dates, based on scholastic achieve- ment, community service, leader- ship, campus involvement and an interview. After the court is announced, the king and queen are elected by the student body. Besche is a senior interior design major from Georgetown. She is active on her campus as the outreach director for student government and has served on the executive council of her sorority as vice president and director of administration. At WVU, Besche has made the dean's or president's lists every year and has a 3.7 grade-point average. For her academic achievements, she has been honored with the Panhellenic Council Award of Academic Achievement and the Davis College Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Leadership. She is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Gamma Beta Phi Honorary and National Exemplary Scholars in Service. In addition to her studies, Besche is involved in the commu- nity as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross and The Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club. Also, for the past three years through Alpha Phi, she has helped to raise money for Women's Cardiac Care. Over the summer, she traveled to Milan, Italy, to study graphic design communications at the Nueva Academia di Bella Arti. After graduating from WVU, she plans to continue her educa- tion and will attend graduate school next year. Authentic assessment measures actual performance Times have changed in schools: there is new math, new technolo- gy and to top it all off, there is new assessment. Some of the subjects that are taught today use authentic assessment to generate a clearer picture of student achieve- ment. This is different from the old content-knowledge tests that we had to take as children. Remember the endless bubble tests that involved multiple- choice answers and only one was correct? Authentic assessment directly measures actual performance in a subject area. Standardized multi- ple-choice tests, on the other hand, measure test-taking skills directly and everything else either indirectly or not at all. Also called "performance," "appropriate," "alternative," or "direct" assessments, authentic evaluation includes a wide variety of techniques: written products, solutions to problems, experi- ments, exhibitions, performances, portfolios of work and teacher observations, checklists and inventories, and cooperative group projects. These assessments may evaluate regular classroom activity or take the form of tests or special projects. Developed first in the arts and SCHOOL JOURNAL Diane Albanese apprentice programs, authentic assessment has always been based on performance, as related on the DSEA website. We would evalu- ate a musician's ability by hearing her sing or play an instrument, and judge a woodworker's craft by seeing the table or cabinet the student has built. To help a student become a better woodworker or musician, the instructor observes the student in the process of work- ing on something real, provides feedback, monitors the student's use of the feedback, and adjusts instruction and evaluation accord- ingly. Authentic assessment extends this principle of evaluat- ing real work to all areas of the curriculum. As a teacher of writing, I employ authentic assessment rou- tinely in my classroom. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) asks students to write on assigned topics. Student essays and stories are graded by teams of readers, usually teachers, who assign grades according to standard guidelines. The readers are trained and retrained throughout the process to maintain reliable stan- dards, a process that produces a high degree of agreement among judges. The same methods are used in my classroom to evaluate classroom work that has been col- lected in a portfolio. Authentic assessment is now being used in other areas includ- ing math, social studies and sci- ence. Students are asked to write their own response to a problem. There is no single way to find a "right answer" because the ques- tion is designed to see how a stu- dent thinks through a problem, thereby indicating her ability to use math. The answers are scored by groups of teacher-readers, again following a standard grad- ing procedure. Social studies assessments fre- quently require group projects, such as preparing a history of a neighborhood or discovering how a group of people changed a law or policy, tasks which all students must perform to demonstrate that they grasp important concepts about history and about democrat- ic processes. Foreign language assessments ask students to use the language in a real-life situa- tion, orally and in print. For young students, reading is evaluated by having a student read aloud from material of varying levels of difficulty, while keeping a record "of "miscues" that reveal the reader's strengths and weak- nesses and the strategies she uses to solve problems. For older and younger students, the material can be discussed to evaluate compre- hension and critical thinking. A writing assignment respond- ing to the ideas of the reading pas- sage can reveal the student's pro- ficiency and thinking in both read- ing and writing. All these assessments can be designed to closely follow the cur- riculum. They provide continuous, quali- tative data that can be used by teachers to help instruction. They can be used by students, who can learn to assume responsibility for their portfolios and records and thereby engage in regular self- analysis of their work and progress. They provide a direct measure of achievement and therefore are worth the time spent preparing for and doing them. They also encourage an intelli- gent, rich curriculum rather than the dumbed-down, narrow cur- riculum fostered by teaching to and coaching for multiple-choice tests. Diane Albanese is a parent and teacher in the Cape Henlopen School District. i) m mr CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Nov. 19 - Nov. 22, 2004 - 117 SCHO(,L & "EDUCATION I a Besche crowned 2004 homecoming queen at W. Virginia University Brian Persinger photo West Virginia University's newly crowned 2004 homecoming queen, Sara Besche, is accom- panied by her uncle, James Besche, and grandmother, Dolores Besche, during halftime festiv- ities at the Nov. 6 WVU-Temple football game. Sara, daughter of Tom and Cathy Besche, is a senior interior design major from Geox'getown. She participates in student government, Alpha Phi sorority and Habitat for Humanity. Other activities include the American Society of Interior Designers; Phi Upsilon Omicron, a family and consumer sciences honorary socie- ty; Gamma Beta Phi Society, a service group; and National Exemplary Scholars in Service. She was named to the WVU dean's and president's lists. On Nov. 6, Sara Besche, a 2001 graduate of Sussex Central High School, was crowned as 2004- homecoming queen at West Virginia University. She was escorted by her uncle, Jay Besche, and her gl:andmother, Dolores Besche. Besche was selected for the homecoming court from among the university's more than 25,000 students. Each fall, the university selects five king and queen candi- dates, based on scholastic achieve- ment, community service, leader- ship, campus involvement and an interview. After the court is announced, the king and queen are elected by the student body. Besche is a senior interior design major from Georgetown. She is active on her campus as the outreach director for student government and has served on the executive council of her sorority as vice president and director of administration. At WVU, Besche has made the dean's or president's lists every year and has a 3.7 grade-point average. For her academic achievements, she has been honored with the Panhellenic Council Award of Academic Achievement and the Davis College Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Leadership. She is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Gamma Beta Phi Honorary and National Exemplary Scholars in Service. In addition to her studies, Besche is involved in the commu- nity as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross and The Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club. Also, for the past three years through Alpha Phi, she has helped to raise money for Women's Cardiac Care. Over the summer, she traveled to Milan, Italy, to study graphic design communications at the Nueva Academia di Bella Arti. After graduating from WVU, she plans to continue her educa- tion and will attend graduate school next year. Authentic assessment measures actual performance Times have changed in schools: there is new math, new technolo- gy and to top it all off, there is new assessment. Some of the subjects that are taught today use authentic assessment to generate a clearer picture of student achieve- ment. This is different from the old content-knowledge tests that we had to take as children. Remember the endless bubble tests that involved multiple- choice answers and only one was correct? Authentic assessment directly measures actual performance in a subject area. Standardized multi- ple-choice tests, on the other hand, measure test-taking skills directly and everything else either indirectly or not at all. Also called "performance," "appropriate," "alternative," or "direct" assessments, authentic evaluation includes a wide variety of techniques: written products, solutions to problems, experi- ments, exhibitions, performances, portfolios of work and teacher observations, checklists and inventories, and cooperative group projects. These assessments may evaluate regular classroom activity or take the form of tests or special projects. Developed first in the arts and SCHOOL JOURNAL Diane Albanese apprentice programs, authentic assessment has always been based on performance, as related on the DSEA website. We would evalu- ate a musician's ability by hearing her sing or play an instrument, and judge a woodworker's craft by seeing the table or cabinet the student has built. To help a student become a better woodworker or musician, the instructor observes the student in the process of work- ing on something real, provides feedback, monitors the student's use of the feedback, and adjusts instruction and evaluation accord- ingly. Authentic assessment extends this principle of evaluat- ing real work to all areas of the curriculum. As a teacher of writing, I employ authentic assessment rou- tinely in my classroom. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) asks students to write on assigned topics. Student essays and stories are graded by teams of readers, usually teachers, who assign grades according to standard guidelines. The readers are trained and retrained throughout the process to maintain reliable stan- dards, a process that produces a high degree of agreement among judges. The same methods are used in my classroom to evaluate classroom work that has been col- lected in a portfolio. Authentic assessment is now being used in other areas includ- ing math, social studies and sci- ence. Students are asked to write their own response to a problem. There is no single way to find a "right answer" because the ques- tion is designed to see how a stu- dent thinks through a problem, thereby indicating her ability to use math. The answers are scored by groups of teacher-readers, again following a standard grad- ing procedure. Social studies assessments fre- quently require group projects, such as preparing a history of a neighborhood or discovering how a group of people changed a law or policy, tasks which all students must perform to demonstrate that they grasp important concepts about history and about democrat- ic processes. Foreign language assessments ask students to use the language in a real-life situa- tion, orally and in print. For young students, reading is evaluated by having a student read aloud from material of varying levels of difficulty, while keeping a record "of "miscues" that reveal the reader's strengths and weak- nesses and the strategies she uses to solve problems. For older and younger students, the material can be discussed to evaluate compre- hension and critical thinking. A writing assignment respond- ing to the ideas of the reading pas- sage can reveal the student's pro- ficiency and thinking in both read- ing and writing. All these assessments can be designed to closely follow the cur- riculum. They provide continuous, quali- tative data that can be used by teachers to help instruction. They can be used by students, who can learn to assume responsibility for their portfolios and records and thereby engage in regular self- analysis of their work and progress. They provide a direct measure of achievement and therefore are worth the time spent preparing for and doing them. They also encourage an intelli- gent, rich curriculum rather than the dumbed-down, narrow cur- riculum fostered by teaching to and coaching for multiple-choice tests. Diane Albanese is a parent and teacher in the Cape Henlopen School District.