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2008 2008 - Keynote 2008 - Prove It!

PROVE IT KEYNOTE “Asking Bigger Questions About Assessment”

Gardner Campbell, Waco, Texas, USA
Blog: http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1
Bio Page: https://k12online08presenters.wikispaces.com/Gardner+Campbell
Twitter: @GardnerCampbell

Bio: Gardner Campbell is currently Director of the Academy for Teaching and Learning at Baylor University, where he also serves as an Associate Professor of Literature and Media in the Honors College.

Presentation Title: Asking Bigger Questions About Assessment

Description: How can we demonstrate that what we do with teaching and learning technologies makes a difference in student learning? My presentation doesn’t answer that question directly, but it does explore a larger historical and cultural context for the issue of student assessment. The aim is to start with complex questions of meaning and purpose so that we construct and choose our assessments wisely.

This presentation is audio-only so an embedded video is not available. The following slides accompany the audio file below:


Original (22:02 Run Time; mp3, 15.1 MB)
Audio only
(22:02 Run Time; mp3, 15.1 MB)

Supporting Links

A set of Google Presentation slides are included to illustrate the audio. The slides are embedded in a page on Gardner’s blog; conference participants can view it in the little window there, or click on the full-screen button (recommended) to get a larger image:


Essential Questions

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[tags]k12online08pi01, k12online08[/tags]


  1. Janice Johnson-Palmer

    I was really engaged by this presentation. The Shakespeare references were right on target. The idea of proof of learning being complex is refreshing considering our current testing atmosphere.If we are truly engaging our students in deep learning, we need to rethink evaluation and its relationship to learning, creativity and the magic that occurs when students really get caught up in their own learning.

  2. Nancee Wilson

    I loved the comparison to Shakespeare. I feel evaluation should complement the learning involved. We cannot put all learning into the same box and evaluated the same. When we ask our students to “think outside the box” and then we grade them within the box, it seems an injustice to their creative thinking. However, caution should be taken to not “dumb down” to a lower think but to encourage students to dig deep within themselves and pull out their potential.

  3. Scott McLeod

    Gardner, I loved the way Shakespeare was interwoven throughout your presentation. Very, very nicely done. I also appreciated your thought-provoking idea (and careful discussion) about putting student work online as a form of performance assessment.

    Although I think it’s an appropriate direction to head, I don’t have much hope that we will move to a more performance-based assessment system anytime soon. Even if we could get over the mental blocks, we still have a large sector of society that thinks that standardized tests are THE way to go (e.g., the ‘back to basics’ group, which I’m guessing is roughly half of America). Plus the time issue is huge. Standardized tests are in place because they’re relatively quick and easy and cheap compared to the alternative. While I think standardized testing has its place in P-12 education, I’d love to see us move in the direction you describe.

    Thanks for a great presentation.

  4. Margaret Hattman

    The Shakespeare theme really gave the presentation a nice flow. I think one of the hardest issues to deal with when we try to work with performance-based and self-determined assessments is that everyone isn’t being evaluated by the same standard. Heaven forbid that we stray away from everyone being assessed the same way with the same assessment tool on the same day in the same room…well, you get the idea. It’s also very time consuming for teachers to create innovative assessment tools that allow each student to showcase their learning.
    I really liked the “Apgar test”. What a great way to make students reflect about how much of themselves they are actually putting into their learning.

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  6. jennifer Peterson

    Thanks for providing your clear opinion on the value of shared and showcased student technology products and experiences as a form of assessment. At my school there is a desire to prove that our students have ‘basic technology skills’. My emphasis, however, has always been on providing experiences that enhance learning and letting the products and experiences demonstrate that the ‘basic technology skills’ have been attained through the process.

    Read a reflection in my blog entry.

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  10. Kristin Nwokedi

    Wonderful and thought-provoking presentation! This topic interested me because we are in the process of talking about assessment and re-evaluating what is real assessment for the 21st century in our school. Although we see a need to be data driven because these types of assessments are practical and will never really go away (SAT, SAT II, AP, aka. standardized tests), kids are going into a world where execution of knowledge and intelligence will also be evaluated and considered of utmost priority. This presentation caused me to sit down and think about how I could transform assessment, using Web 2.0 skills, to not only satisfy the need to provide scientific data, but also involve my students in a way that incorporates the values of old (oral exams, witnessing and testifying) with the values of the new (play, technology, collaboration). I really came up with some interesting ideas to try!

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