Evaluation has come a long way, or at least it should have! The assessments I remember from grade school and high school were tests or quizzes that were written, true or false, multiple choice, matching and fill in the blank. Those types of assessments still exist now in many classrooms. However, many teachers have moved beyond this type of evaluation. As a teacher I began to move away from them a number of years ago when I came to the realization that some students just didn't test well, which didn't always mean that they didn't understand the material, in many cases they did and struggled to represent their knowledge in that format. Now I use a variety of assessments and often offer the students different methods and let them choose.
As education begins to change and more information is available to students, I strive to teach my students how to solve problems and locate needed information and then to evaluate it. So how do I assess these skills? One way is with a problem solving rubric I have created. I give this to the students at the beginning of the school year and we use it a number of times throughout the year. They realize quickly that they should be focusing on solving problems and improving their skills in this area. I teach them that problem solving applies to all curriculum and is a process where one identifies and defines a problem, analyzes pertinent data, and resolves the problem. An advanced problem solver consistently identifies the problem, defines and clarifies the problem, organizes and evaluates data, resolves the problem, has the ability to judge practicality and merit of the solution and uses inductive reasoning to draw conclusions from the solution. This skill could be used anywhere from not having a pencil for class to finding the most accurate and up to date website to gather information for a research project.
So, can a podcast be an assessment of problem solving, how about blog postings or a YouTube presentation? Why not, couldn't a student show their process of problem solving in all of these methods? In fact aren't those more effective ways to show evidence of problem solving than a written test? I am all about evidence and artifacts these days. What would be better to add to an eportfolio a multiple choice fraction test or a video presentation showing the process of adding fractions and why a common denominator is needed?