V. Assessment

An initial assessment came from an unlikely place. As our first evening activity at Olympic Park Institute in April, we had requested that our students be paired with another high school in residency the same week, in a town-meeting style debate on issues related to the Elwha dam removal and restoration.

It turned out that while most of our students were now veterans of these issues, having studied them for two years, all of West Seattle High School students had come to OPI to learn about them for the first time. To solve this inequity, the OPI educators put together pairs of our students with pairs from West Seattle.

After a brief introduction, our student pairs were asked to share key information about the plans for the Elwha River with their peers. Students were then shuffled again, so that each one of our students was paired with a student from West Seattle and given an identity of one of the key stakeholders to simulate in the Elwha Town Hall Debate.

During the conference times before the debate, OPI educators and our high school teachers circulated among the students, making sure that key information was being shared. To our great delight, even our most shy students were up to this task. Significant and accurate information was being shared to level the playing field for the debate. Once the debate was underway, it was clear that students were enjoying the simulation, feeling confident that they could contribute to its success.

The most significant Year Two authentic assessment was, of course, the premiere of the documentary film that students made. After the film was screened, students evaluated their work by explaining the processes they had gone through and answered questions from the audience, which included interested community members as well as representatives from all our grant funders. In addition, we had each student write a self-evaluation.

Comments are closed.