The one area in my classes that I have a need for a new assessment is in Advanced Baking. In this course the students are much more self directed and they are often tasked with creating new products / recipes for our monthly bake shop. Creating a new recipe is hard work and it doesn’t happen in just one try. It takes many iterations of the product to get it just right in flavor, texture, appearance, and customer draw. Each time the students make their recipe the whole class tastes it and gives feedback in a verbal round table type discussion. This leaves out any students who are not in the room that day and it also doesn’t leave a “paper trail” or notes on the suggestions given for improvement.

I would really like to create a product assessment that students can fill out while they are tasting the products. This doesn’t need to completely replace the verbal discussion but serve as an enhancement of that process. The team that made the product will then have a written account of what the tasters liked and disliked so they can make an informed decision about next steps without relying on memory of the discussion.

I think a practical name for the assessment would be “Product Feedback”. Some students get hung up on words like assessment but feedback sounds less threatening. The format of the assessment would be in multiple forms. Perhaps it could begin by asking students to rate the flavor, texture, and appearance on a scale followed by space to offer positive comments as well as suggestions for improvement. I think the team will need to show how they are using the feedback in their next iteration so they have to consciously practice receiving constructive feedback, evaluating the feedback, and then using the feedback. This isn’t a skill many of the students are taught.

The student instructions for an assessment such as this would need to be clear and standards would need to be set so students know they may not be hurtful or cruel in their feedback. On first draft the instructions look something like this:

Finally, I believe that using digital technology to provide this assessment will assist in many ways. The students will be able to provide their feedback anonymously so they can feel more open to honesty in their assessment. Also, the data will be more easily manipulated if it is collected in a digital manner. For example, if a Google Form is used the feedback can be viewed as graphic representations like pie charts so they can see what percentage of students agreed on each area of feedback.

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