Course Management System As Assessment for Student Learning

Ideal Course Management System

What would my ideal “course management” system be? The system would be used primarily for recording, analyzing, and reporting formative assessment results and suggestions for improvement. This would include teacher, peer and self-assessments. A secondary use would be for summative assessments such as assignments and tests which would be proficiency based. Also in the summative section would be results from the previous years, last state test or from practice state tests recorded by proficiency. This section would also include past year’s proficiency-based grades, attendance, and other personal data. A tercerary use would be for an eportfolio (both formative and summative use). If the eportfolio was developed over a series of Eportfolio planning days, then both students and teachers could use it as a formative assessment for student improvement.

At any given moment a teacher would be able to see a multitude of data that clearly shows the number story of a student’s progress in the proficiency. The proficiency data would be visually displayed through graphs and charts. Likewise, a teacher could have an overview of all students’ progress in a certain standard. The system would produce a “report card” which focuses on each student’s progress in the standard with suggestions for improvement in any less than proficient areas. The grading would be on a scale such as Exemplary, Proficient, Nearing Proficiency, and Developing Proficiency that all teachers and students understand.

The system would allow any teacher in a subject area to see summary information from any other teacher in that subject area at that grade level, the lower grade level, and the higher grade level.

Students would have access to this information so that they could monitor their own progress. Likewise, parents/guardians would have access to the information.

The system would have value-added assessment since teachers, students and parents could see the growth of a student over years..

So what does your course management system focus on? Formative? Summative? Eportfolio? Which will most benefit your students? Or which combination?


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


4 Responses to “Course Management System As Assessment for Student Learning”

  1. 1 Mark March 7, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Why is it all about assessment? Isn’t there more to learning than assessment? My ideal CMS would provide rich ways to interact collaboratively with content, building knowledge and making connections. Sure there needs to be some assessment, but I hesitate to make assessment the Main Thing.

    One of my sons had to do a portfolio in college; my other son has to do one as a senior in high school. I had to do one in my doctoral program. I think it is fair to say the three of us agree it was largely busy-work. This is not to say portfolio assessment is worthless but just that (like most things) it is hard to do well.

  2. 2 hgtuttle March 7, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    How do we know students have learned content unless we assess? Unless we keep records of those small assessments, we do not know where the student is in his or her progress toward the standard and and how we can help the student to improve. I see assessment, particularly formative assessment, as student-focused.
    I agree that many eportfolios are summative and therefore are busy-work. When the eportfolio becomes a vehicle for the students to share in an organized fashioned what he/she is learning and still needs to learn, then it is a valuable tool.

  3. 3 Mark March 7, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    I’m not complaining about assessment per se, and I agree with you on the value of formative. I just think CMSs could have a lot to offer beyond assessment.

    The challenge, of course, is that formative feedback takes TIME to do well and repeatedly, time many teachers don’t have, given the number of students and responsibilities. Thus something that should enable learning merely annoys.

  4. 4 hgtuttle March 7, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Mark, I agree that CMS is more than assessment. I took that stance since it is usually the forgotten piece in most CMS. Content is important and proof that the students have learned content is equally as important.
    I’ve read that in the UK there is a movement to embedded more formative assessment and have less big tests.

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