Depending on how you introduce teaching for human rights into your school, evaluation may be something which you are obliged to do or which you want to do. Whatever your motive, there are many good reasons to do it:
(This advice is based on the essay "Lesson Evaluation in the Human Rights Classroom" by Felisa Tibbitts)
Academic evaluation methods (such as marking essays on factual accuracy), although useful for evaluating the KNOWLEDGE part of human rights teaching, are not so useful for evaluating SKILLS and ATTITUDES. Also, it is relatively easy to take a pile of essays home to mark, but quite difficult to monitor the development of skills and attitudes in a busy class of students, particularly if they are working in small groups. This has led human rights educators to combine traditional marking techniques with new evaluation techniques designed to assess the effectiveness of the skills and attitudes aspects of their teaching.
How can I assess skills and attitudes?
Marking skills and attitudes is made easier if:
Involving students in evaluating themselves and their classmates has the added advantage that it encourages students to take more responsibility for their behavior. However, some teachers may worry about the possibility that a student, the teacher, and the other students may all give conflicting assessments. In these circumstances, differences can be discussed and, if necessary, evaluation procedures adjusted.
It is possible to work with students, for example, by brainstorming to list criteria or standards for participative work. Here is an example of such a list:
Skills in small group work
Does the student:
- keep the purpose or task in mind
- cooperate with other members of the group
- work without disturbing others
- act courteously to all group members
- complete a fair share of the work
- help find ways to improve group work
It is possible to assess attitudes in the same way. For example:
Assessment of "open-mindedness"
Does the student:
- consider new ideas and activities
- try new ways to do things
- put facts before feelings in discussions
- change conclusion in light of new facts
- base judgments on fairness to everyone
- consider all sides of an issue
- recognize stereotypes and prejudice
For self-assessment, a similar list can be used. For example:
Assessment of developing values
How do you rate yourself on the items listed here?
(A = very good, B = good, C = OK, D = very poor)
- respect for others
- interest in others
- listening to others
- sticking to the job
- sensitive to others’ needs
- fair judgment of others
- cooperating with others
- thinking before acting
- being honest
- helping others
- admitting errors
Finally, here is a sample marking system which includes evaluation of group work, discussions and joint projects, as well more traditional exercises and tests:
Sample plan for marks for one term of classes (12 weeks)
• Marks for each group activity (one per week), based on
- participation (assigned individually - marked through self-evaluation and evaluation by other students)
- group result (assigned to group as a whole - marked by the teacher)
• Written tests and homework assignments (marked by teacher)
• Project work (one per term)
- Graded for design, execution, and educational value for the student (marked by teacher, and by other students on the basis of oral presentation)
• Participation and contribution to classroom discussions (marked by teacher and classmates)
As with all aspects of Human Rights Education, once you try this sort of marking you will have your own ideas about how to do it with your own class - these pages are just a start for your own thoughts.
Taken from Electronic Resource Centre for Human Rights Education: “First Steps - a manual for starting Human Rights Education”, www.hrea.org
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