Assessing STEM

Characteristics of a Quality STEM Student (All students are a work in progress. Mentoring is critical.)

• The student pursues excellence in their work.

• The student stays focused and desires to complete their work.

• The student enjoys making presentations on their work.

• The student is able to write about their experience.

• The student can apply math to their projects.

• The student pursues safety.

Assessing STEM Projects & Activities. The Quad-C Method (c).  What is the best way to assess a STEM student when they do projects and activities? Every student approaches their project different, and every student comes with different skills & experiences. It is impossible, at best, to give a standardized test to measure what a STEM student has accomplished or learned from a project. K – 12th grade are growing years for learning STEM.  Every student must be allowed to seek and learn their skills and interest.  From forty years of working with youth and twelve years of teaching STEM across several states I have come up with a working solution to assessing STEM.  It is a form of the classical Engineering Design Process.  I call my evaluation approach the Quad-C or CCCC Method (c).

• C = Commitment – Contractual commitment with student to start and complete the project as defined and within the agreed schedule. For younger students (K-6th) it can be verbal, however, for older students it needs to be in writing with as much detail as the student wants to commit to or have time to accomplish. This could be hours, months, or semesters.

• C = Completion – Completion of the project or activity as defined in the commitment contract. Develop a simple rubrics chart to aid the student in making progress.  The rubrics will assist the teacher in measuring the partial or incorrect completion of the project or activity.

• C = Cycle/Recycle/Redo/Rework. Based on the contract and the goals of the teacher, this phase allows for the teacher to have the student continue working on the project until an additional part of it is working according to the contract or modified contract. Once the project or activity meets the satisfaction of the teacher and contract, the students move into the fourth phase of documenting the project and preparing a written and verbal presentation.

• C = Comprehension – Ability to show final results, express in writing, and express verbally the committed project.

The final grade can be expressed as a number ratio, percentage, or pass, or incomplete. Each student will progress at their own speed. It is critical they complete their commitments along with their written and verbal assignments.  Make these grade appropriate, from a few sentences to one page and from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

Failure is good. Teach recovering from all failures. This is how students learn to troubleshoot … one of the highest skills requested by industry.

This method is (c) Copyrighted 2014-23 by Ray M Holt. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 


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