Note: The Skills Assessment Stack is ©1994, 1995, 1996, and 1998 by James P. Riser (all rights are reserved) and is not yet completed. This page does illustrate the concept. The experimental model shown here is fully operational.
I have been experimenting with using
technology to develop an exciting assessment tool for use with
my students. When I began developing this assessment tool in the
summer of 1993 as I was working on my "An Introduction to
CD-ROM, I had several goals in mind. I wanted to design a tool that would determine the abilities of students in the following categories: making observations (qualitative and quantitative); making inferences; collecting data; organizing and displaying data; graphing data; interpreting data; detecting patterns; using coordinates; using formulas; problem solving; working with ratios, areas, percentages; working with and identifying variables; orienting in three dimensions; using contour maps; calculating rates; interpolating; extrapolating; identifying important information; predicting; identifying properties; comparing; evaluating; and classifying.
I wanted to design an assessment tool that would be interesting to the person being assessed; be a learning tool; be non-threatening; be non-sexist; be non-ethnic; and be a skill assessment rather than a vocabulary test. This assessment tool is still under development and gets enhanced as I find time in the evenings and on weekends to work on it. This tool is designed to help improve instruction not just line the pockets of test sellers.
Since developing this tool, I have been contacted by several "student test making firms". Without exception, they were interested until they saw that it would change the way student skills assessment is done and might put them out of business! They love the needless paper shuffling that their firms have pushed upon the school systems. Mark my words, one day a system such as mine will be implemented and there will be no turning back.
The included screen shots illustrate
a portion of the completed assessment tool.
This Skills assessment tool relies
extensively on QuickTime (avi or mpeg would do fine also). When
I began this project, I was running an Apple Classrooms of
Tomorrow (ACOT) science lab equipped with Macintoshes. I had
experimentation with HyperCard (using HyperGASP) and really liked the way it could handle the background "record keeping" and the graphics. Unfortunately, Apple has not really kept the product current and made it cross platform. HyperStudio can easily display the graphics (though not as elequently as HyperCard); but does not easily do all the record keeping. CourseBuilder can beautifully do the record keeping; but is very clunky and limited with the graphics. (There is a
new version of CourseBuilder in the works which might address the graphic and cross platform issues.) Podium for the PC platform is outstanding; but still not cross platform. Unfortunately, I have no money to purchase Macromedia Director. It would probably do everything quite well. I am considering writing everything to run in JAVA to solve the cross platform issue. What you will see here is non-interactive screen shots of the tool in action. Feedback is always welcome.
The Assessment Tool: