Thoughts on Workshop Assessments

These are some notes and ideas from UbD Meets Neuroscience that I think are interesting and could be applied well to our remote workshops and further differentiate our offerings from others.

UbD gives two categories of assessment: summative and formative.

Summative (Evaluation)

Given at the end of a unit. Performance tasks, exams, portfolio.

Performance tasks for essential JS course could be providing a data structure with a similar shape to the one used in the lesson and prompt the Learner to write code that does it. Multiple questions could use things taught in earlier lessons like string interpolation, etc.

These would lend themselves to self checking, but I'm not sure how other types of assessment would work. How feasible is it to grade things turned in, or look at portfolio apps?

Story problems that mimick the type of tickets & user stories that the Learner will encounter in the real world?

I'm adapting these steps from an example in the book: 3 Steps: 1. Describedbe your idea 2. Explain why you came up with it 3. Write the code

They don't answer the example, but I'm reminded of all those times I was getting by on partial credit.

Formative (Feedback)


Because new learning builds upon a base of previously stored knowledge, teachers must determine what students know (or think they know) about a new concept or process before layering on new information.

The most interesting thing I learned about in this section is the KWL.

It's described as a 3 column split into: 1. What do you (think you) Know about the topic? 2. What do you Want to know? 3. What did you Learn?(filled out by the Learner as the lesson proceeds)

A benefit of this process is that misconceptions emerge and are (hopefully!) corrected.

Perhaps the K and W could be asked ahead of time along with a pre-test and then each section of the workshop could be a presentation of "here's what everyone thinks they know. Let's see how correct y'all are." At the very least, the KW can guide the material to be covered.

When writing a pre-test, present common errors & misconceptions. (Multiple choice from reading what the output would be?)

Having Pre-assessments before workshops is interesting. It makes me think of bootcamps like Flat Iron School that have entire curriculums that must be completed before being accepted to the program.

I don't think it has to go that far. Even as few as 3 to 5 self check questions (maybe as an email course?) shouuld be sufficient.

A powerful addition would be questions about where the prospective student is having difficulties.

From there, answers can be used not only to guide the outline for that particular course with existing examples prepared, but also serve as ideas for additional material to create in the future.

Ongoing Assessments

pragmatically... Something that Kent did in his workshop was providing a Google Form asking what the student learned in that section and feedback.

When I was in the breakout group, not many people were talking. People are afraid to ask questions, so maybe providing an anonymous way of asking questions during the exercise time would be good to include.

Maybe seeing if someone wanted to share their approach to doing the problem?

UbD recommends asking questions of the whole class to see their responses. Zoom has good yes/no features here. There's also the idea of split cups that would be placed on a desk to show if it's clicking or not. Not sure what Zoom has in the non-chat-flooding department.

Suggested group question types:

  • Prediction
  • Agree?
  • True/False

Writing prompts for end of section:

What are the most important things you learned about? What do you understand about? What don't you understand yet? What questions do you have?


There is a great section on how to give feedback (ASAP and less than a week!)

I wonder how it could be balanced to not only move from breakout room to room to assist for the current sections problem set, but also read the submitted questions from the previous?

I'm thinking the right time to present the clarifications for the material would be best to present at the end.

A - B - A clarification - C - B clarification - D ... might be a bit wonky and delay topic Z.

Self-assessment Prompts

What was most effective in _? What was least effective _?

How could you improve _?

What would you do differently next time? What are you most proud of?

What are you most disappointed in? How difficult was _ for you?

What are your strengths in _? What are your deficiencies in _? What questions do you still have about _?

How does your preferred way(s) of learning influence _? What grade/score do you deserve? Why?

How does what you've learned connect to other learnings? How has what you've learned changed your thinking?

How does what you've learned relate to the present and future? What do you want to learn next?