Cake-Based Assessment

Last Thursday's (11/28) #literacies Chat explored the multitude of literacies people know and communicate with.  It was an enjoyable chat that sparked a memory for me.

I shared that my students have many choices on demonstrating mastery of content.  In our 9th grade class we read The Odyssey and we write many small essays, but you have to allow them to explore other modes of expression.  If you do it right you can really prompt some critical thought and reflection.

NOTE: in these cases cake-based assessment works because it fit the needs and matched the learning objective.

I was prompted by the discussion to dig through my video file and find the recording of Raquel discussing the 4 tier cake she constructed to discuss the interconnected narratives of William Faulkner's Light in August.  But before we get there, let's talk about another occassion of cake-based assessment.  Dr. Landers, my wonderful colleague, requires her students to read independently in addition to the assigned reading in class.  One of the options for reporting back on the independent reading was to do some interpretive baking.  Each student has to present their response to the class and discuss the critical and analytical elements. (In this case knowing your audience also includes knowing if they are allergic to peanuts or soy.)

These cakes, and giant cookie, worked will for independent reading reports.  So much of the process is joyful engagement in the act of reading and sharing about what we have read.

In my AP language and composition class we finish the year with Faulkner's Light in August.  Light in August is difficult.  The narrative structure is innovative and manifold.  I ask my students to do a creative interpretation project to help keep them invested in the challenge of building their own understanding of the text.  Here is a the cake that I was first talking about in #cakeliteracies.