Use an explicit protocol to assess individual and group activity

Author(s): Nadia Sansone & M. Beatrice Ligorio

Affiliation(s): University of Rome Sapienza, Italy

Date of publication: June 29, 2016

The Educational Problem

Courses based on a complex educational organization, structured around individual and group activities and aimed at the construction of knowledge and of many concrete artifacts, requires to overcome the classical evaluation mode in the direction of one able to account for actions, interactions, products and processes. In addition, the evaluation - like the entire educational setting - should encourage accountability and the active role of students, becoming an integral part of the learning process, and moving from a learning evaluation to an assessment for learning.

The Solution

Therefore, we have developed a protocol aimed at a multi-dimensional assessment (see The protocol consists of a grid in which to keep track of all the individual and group activities. Of course the specific content will depend on the instructional design. In the grid are identified the group, modules, and individual and collaborative processes/artifacts to evaluate.

As soon as a task is completed, the assessor assigns a score, using an appropriate scale. For example, when assessing the "learning discussion", the scores could be awarded according to these categories: 1 = no participation; 2 = a few interventions, not focused or useful; 3 = short focused interventions / construction; 4 = quite focused / construction operations; 5 = highly focused interventions / helpful, proactive and collaborative attitude.

Overall, this type of evaluation reflects the assumptions of the pedagogical model adopted, as it allows to actively engage students, to consider and enhance skills and competencies, enhancing both processes and learning products, and prompting them to reflect on how they learn. It is a method we introduced to strengthen the practical application of Trialogical Learning Approach design principles, by establishing evaluation strategies consistent with the model. At the end of each module, the evaluation grid is shared with the students, along with descriptions of the scores stairs. Students are invited to read and comment on it using a dedicated space in the classroom or online. Each activity carried out by the students is evaluated in this way, students receive a detailed feedback which also supports their self-assessment skills. At the end of the course, the grid provides the teacher abundant information for the final evaluation.

The Context

Although the evaluation protocol described was developed as part of the CCP model (Ligorio & Sansone, 2016), we believe it can flexibly be used in similar courses or simpler. In fact, it is sufficient to adapt the grid to the number of groups, modules, or evaluators and to the type and number of activities, identifying in advance a suitable scale for the evaluation for each. It represents a useful tool to identify not only the individual learning level, but also the construction of collaborative knowledge. In addition, we suggest to attribute a double assessment to the processes and collaborative artifacts - an individual one with respect to participation, a group one to the products. In this way, students have the opportunity to compare their performance with those of their fellow group members, so as to better understand the contribution they are giving to the construction of collaborative knowledge.

Ligorio, M.B., & Sansone, N. (2016). Manuale di didattica blended: il modello della ‚ÄúPartecipazione Costruttiva e Collaborativa‚ÄĚ (PCC). Milan: Franco Angeli.

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