Vicki Davis & Westwood Wiki: Assignments & Assessment

This is the fourth installment in a series [1 2 3] based on my recent conversation with Vicki Davis (blog), the visionary teacher behind the Westwood Schools Wikispace. Today, Vicki tells us about assignments and formal assessment of wiki work. Vicki, thanks again!

  • How many classes/students using it?

    I have two computer science classes and one ninth grade computer fundamentals class using it – that represents approximately 50 students. I am in the process of introducing the eighth grade keyboarding class to wikis, but have them spending more time blogging to hone their keyboarding skills. I plan to introduce wikis to my senior accounting and graphic design classes next year.

  • Are wiki activities/assignments part of formal assessment/grading?

    Absolutely. Authentic assessment is a mainstay here at Westwood and we do not have formal “Final exams.” Our focus this year is to authentically assess and cumulatively test. We care about knowledge retention. Everything we do on wikispaces is for a grade. Remember, I tell them that these are group projects but that I grade individually. If I see pretty fair contribution of each they both benefit with a good grade. However, if I see that one person did all the work, I reserve the right to grade appropriately. This is how the history has been so helpful, as I can see which person made which edits.

  • I have had several MAJOR assessments for Computer Science:

    • #1 November 2005 – I wanted to create an authentic assessment as to their understanding of the use of wikipages to collaborate. For their quiz, I asked them to create a page with a partner of their choosing, that would help them study for an exam or complete a project in the next week. (See the links to these on must say that I was impressed with the biology page. I also was quite pleased with their review material of the Scarlet Letter, King Lear, and their English Exam Review.
    • #2 Semester 1 Assessment – I had two scenarios to which students were allowed to use their books. In each of these, they had to apply what they had learned about computing to either recommend a computer for a grandfather or a college student based upon certain criteria. You can review these projects at: EXAM – Scenario 1, EXAM – Scenario 2. It was open book and they said it was harder than any exam they had taken. I thought that it took more comprehension of the subject than other options.
    • #3 Semester 2 Assessment – I am using the Wikis now as part of the computer science assessment for second semester. Section 1 of their portfolio requires that they use and evaluate a Web 2.0 website and create a wiki with their findings. This is an individual project, however, they are allowed to look at each other’s work. Each student must have a different website, so this just serves to improve each of their work and bring it up to a higher level.I believe wikis fit very well into authentic assessment and our curriculum director has been very pleased with the results in my classroom..
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