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Creative Alternative Assessments

Experiential learning (and testing) at it's best!

Why take a paper and pencil test when knowledge can be shown in so many ways?! At Jemicy, our alternative assessments, like our students, demonstrate unique strengths and out-of-the-box creativity while building the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed academically and promote teamwork and problem-solving. And, did we mention that the kids love it?  

This year, our 9th-grade field exam was based on the game Settlers of Catan. The students became pieces in a giant game board, where they worked in teams to develop their own civilization. They collaborated to claim territory by trading in knowledge from their various classes and created a religion, government, foundational myth, ecology, and so much more! In this cross-curricular experiential exam, students were challenged to utilize all they have learned from the year from all their courses in one game that encourages teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. A highlight of the day was the arrival of our JE students, who, armed with marshmallows, “invaded” the final territories. A run through the sprinklers was the perfect ending to the hard-fought “battles”.
Did you know being dyslexic gives you superpowers? Our 10th-graders began their alternative assessment with a survey to determine their “dyslexic advantage” (a concept from The Dyslexic Advantage, the best-selling book by Brock L. Eide M.D. M.A. and Fernette F. Eide M.D.). Groups were formed with students who had different “mind strengths,” and as they completed problem-solving challenges, they experienced just how valuable their talents are! 
This assessment unfolded over several days, which involved a trip to the Antietam Battlefield followed by a game based on the Civil War (similar to Risk). The groups strategized to gain ground, men, and supplies by building giant arches and miniature trebuchets, solving puzzle games, making simple machines, writing letters to soldiers, playing Giant Shoot the Moon, singing Civil War-era songs, and more! The day ended with our college counseling team helping students develop the language to verbalize the ways that their dyslexia is a gift and why colleges, businesses, programs, etc. should want them on their teams!

These are just a few examples of Upper School alternative assessments, but all Jemicy teachers are experts when it comes to creative ways to measure knowledge and make learning fun! Middle School math classes just finished a geometry unit learning about angle relationships. Instead of a test, they created maps of an imaginary city by placing coffee shops, grocery stores, and parks at various angles using different shapes. These unique approaches to testing often take extraordinary planning and effort on the part of faculty, but seeing the students so engaged and confident throughout the activities makes it all worthwhile!
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