A business teacher was telling me that she used one task as the pre-test for her course. She had the students word process a a business application business letter and email it to her. She checked whether they could 1) use business email procedures, 2) do attachments, 3) use the proper format for a business letter, 4) write in a business style, 5) do an application letter, and 6) write well. She scored each skill on a scale of 4 (above proficiency) to 1(does not demonstrate proficiency). The students took about 25 minutes of class time to do the task and she took about 1 hour to rate each student’s work and record the information. However, with only 1 1/2 hours of time, she knew how to change the course to best fit the needs of the students. She could modify her plans so that students would be successful. She could skip those skill areas that all students had demonstrated. She had used just one task to get a richness of information (6 different skills) about the students.
What authentic task do you have your students do that enables you to analyze how well students can demonstrate the many critical skills for your course (or unit)?