Teachers who like to use activities or projects to bring instruction to life may also assume that such activities make valid and reliable assessments of what a student understands. Not necessarily, warns Grant Wiggins in his 1998 book, Educative Assessment — but it’s simple to check, using these two questions:
1. Could the student do well at the task for reasons that have little to do with the desired understanding or skill being tested?
2. Could the student do poorly at the task for reasons that have little to do with the desired understanding or skill?
If either answer is yes, Wiggins says, either the task is an invalid measure or the evidence it produces will be insufficient or misleading. Instead, before designing an assessment the teacher should state precisely:
-What new skills and knowledge the student should be able to demonstrate.
-What constitutes the necessary evidence of that learning.
-Where one must look for that evidence.