Face-to-Face assessment discussions can be difficult:
- They usually occur after school, when everyone's energy is drained.
- A skilled facilitator trained in the use of protocols is needed to keep discussion on track and productive.
- A few people can dominate, while the valuable input of others remains unspoken.
COA's have a built-in protocol that channels discussion in productive ways:
- Each participant must post his or her own commentary on each sample paper.
- Participants cannot see what others have posted until they have posted their own comments and scores.
- Each participant must respond to at least two other comments.
- Because it is written rather than oral, people tend to edit their comments, display respect and restraint when disagreeing, and put their best professional foot forward.
Most teachers would rather work like this:
- In the comfort of their own home.
- During their best time of day - early for some, late for others.
- Around other commitments of family, grading papers, lesson planning, and social life.
- When they're mentally fresh and ready, not exhausted from teaching all day.
- Fulfilling PD or continuing certification requirements learning something that is immediately useful and helpful.
Most school districts can save money using a COA:
- COAs cost much less than standardized essay tests.
- After an initial investment to build the website, a COA can be used by multiple schools, K-12.
- The number of teacher participants is limited only by the server.
- The technology is relatively simple; most districts can provide any needed tech support in-house.
- It takes zero time away from classroom instruction.
- It adapts automatically to new curricula and standards as they evolve.
- It can easily use photos, video, and audio recordings as well as written papers as samples of student work.