Section 1: Setting Context

Much like maker education itself, assessment in a maker context involves centering students in a process that is often led entirely by a teacher or facilitator. Welcoming students into the assessment process will require building strong, trusting relationships among students and between students and teachers. See this resource from the American Psychological Association about the why and how of building positive relationships with students. The activities in this section will help lay the groundwork for including students in the documentation and assessment process.

The first step in the maker assessment toolkit is Setting Context. It is important for educators and learners to build a common understanding of the learning constructs, fully participate together in the assessment process, and collect rich evidence that supports teaching and learning.

The Beyond Rubrics Toolkit contains a collection of constructs (maker skills and mindsets) that we call the Maker Elements. This set of constructs was selected by reviewing a set of frameworks (including the Exploratorium’s Learning Dimensions of Making and Tinkering and MAKESHOP’s Learning Practices) as well as the values and practices of our co-design partner schools. You can find definitions of each of the Maker Elements, along with posters for each, in the toolkit downloads.

  • In Try the Toolkit: Superpower Hour you will explore two of our Maker Elements, or constructs, by reflecting on the experience of a biomedical engineer. You’ll work with colleagues to construct a cape for this engineer, representing how she uses these constructs, and then discuss your understanding. This activity can be facilitated in your classroom or makerspace to build a shared understanding of learning constructs within your community.
  • In Design Your Own: Defining Constructs you will work to define your own constructs based on outside frameworks, school or district values, and your own vision of student success. This is a process you can repeat with additional knowledge, skills, and mindsets you want to support in your classroom or makerspace.

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