Creating effective authentic assessments is no easy feat, especially when it comes to IB MYP assessment tasks. There are multiple things to consider – learning objectives, real-world contexts, as well as student agency. It’s no surprise that, as educators, when straddling multiple task design goals, we end up being blindsided by a few.
To make sure you know what not to do, we reviewed hundreds of MYP assessment tasks and distilled all that feedback here for you! Read on to learn more about some of the most common blindspots when it comes to designing IB MYP assessment tasks and what you can do to avoid them.
Want the complete set of these ‘Not-to-dos’ outlined in a handy checklist? Make sure you download our resource, ‘Designing an MYP Assessment Task’, and share it with your colleagues!
#1: Not writing a clear and effective statement of inquiry (SOI) and articulating its connection to the task.
What to do: Spend time crafting a clear and concise SOI that aligns with the MYP objectives, the unit itself and the assessment that’s given. Use language that is easy for students to understand and ensure that it clearly communicates the purpose of the learning in the unit. Ensure that the summative task clearly aligns with the SOI and that students understand how the task relates to the big picture of their learning journey. The SOI and the summative task should be intricately linked so that students see the relevance of the task and its connection to the unit and beyond.
#2: Not articulating a strong connection between the SOI and summative task.
What to do: Ensure that the summative task clearly aligns with the SOI and that students understand how the task relates to the big picture of their learning journey. The SOI and the summative task should be intricately linked so that students see the relevance of the task and its connection to the unit and beyond.
#3: Choosing MYP objectives that do not align with the task being assessed or understanding the criteria strands being used.
What to do: Choose MYP objectives that align with the task being assessed and ensure that the task is designed in a way that allows students to demonstrate their understanding of these objectives. Take the time to thoroughly understand the MYP criteria strands that you’ve chosen for the assessment and ensure that the task fully addresses these strands. Review the MYP assessment criteria and ensure that each criterion has been addressed in the task and that the task aligns with the specific learning outcomes of each criterion.
#4: Creating tasks that are too easy or too difficult.
What to do: Create tasks that are challenging enough for capable students to reach the highest level, but scaffolded enough that students who struggle can still show what they know. This ensures that students of all abilities can show their understanding successfully.
#5: Not providing clear guidance and expectations for students.
What to do: Educators should provide students with a clear explanation of what is expected of them and use student-friendly language while doing so. It’s also important to outline specific requirements that students should do in order to be successful on the task. This can be done through rubrics, exemplars, or other forms of guidance. For group tasks, it is important to clarify that each student will be assessed individually on all criteria. Educators should clearly communicate to students that they will be assessed on their individual contributions to the group task and provide specific guidance on how this will be evaluated.
#6: Not providing multiple entry points for success or considering student agency.
What to do: Ensure that students of varying abilities should be able to demonstrate their understanding and achieve success in different ways. Consider these needs and abilities and provide opportunities for success that are both challenging and achievable. In order to promote student agency and engagement, educators should consider the diverse needs and interests of their students and provide options that allow them to showcase their learning in a way that is meaningful to them. This can be done through various formats, such as giving students a choice of formats or methods of presentation.
#7: Not including a clear and detailed task-specific rubric or leaving out levels of achievement (1-8) in the rubric.
What to do: Create a rubric that clearly outlines the expectations of this particular assessment task for each criterion being assessed, and ensure it is accessible and understandable for students. Align the rubric with the chosen MYP objectives and criteria strands, and ensure that equal value is given to all criteria strands. Ensure that all four levels of achievement (1-8) are included in the rubric so that students can see the full range of possible achievement levels.
#8: Not structuring or formatting assessments well.
What to do: Ensure that the assessment is clearly structured and formatted in a way that is easy for students to navigate and understand, with clear headings and instructions. Spend a few extra minutes cleaning up your final task sheet to be sure that students know what is being asked of them!
#9: Not grounding the task in a real-world context.
What to do: Use models like RAFTS or GRASPS to help create assessments that are authentic and grounded in a real-world context, making them more engaging and meaningful for students.
#10: Not using appropriate MYP command terms.
What to do: Use appropriate MYP command terms when creating assessment questions, so that students can clearly understand what is being asked of them. Take time to explain what these command terms mean to students for greater clarity.
By avoiding these blindspots, you can create IB MYP assessment tasks that are clear, engaging, and meaningful for students, helping them to develop a deep understanding of the content and contexts, and build important skills for the future.
We’ve added a few more and compiled these blindspots into a single, easy-to-use resource for MYP educators. Make sure you download this handy checklist for guidance you as you author assessment tasks in the future!