The overall result was a crisp Summative Assessment which each student owned and was fully engaged in, as well as, clarity for the teacher from the initial question through to how the student's response is connected to the curriculum.
We discovered that the five fabulous questions we had created were to be heavily edited by our students before receiving their stamp of approval. It was a humbling and valuable experience. There is no point asking questions of students that you believe to be of quality if they simply don't understand the actual question. It will completely circumnavigate the whole point of tapping into their understanding and what they have learned. Sharing the questions in advance gave students a chance to preview what was going to be asked of them while tweaking or rewriting the questions so as to be fully understood what was going to be asked of them.
This also immediately opened up the opportunity for further Student Voice as it begged the question, "HOW could you best respond to each question?" If students can make decisions about their own Summative Assessment questions then they also can suggest how they should best answer each question.
Students knew WHY we were designing Summative Assessments together and we had explained the purpose, importance and value of Student Voice. They had input in WHAT and HOW so the next step was planning WHEN and WHERE to answer and respond to these questions. This helped open up their understanding and prepare them for Time Management.
So we approached our Summative Assessment over the period of a week.
Monday: We presented our five questions to our students who edited them and we came to a consensus. Then we divided into groups and devised eight ways in which we could answer these five questions. Each group decided which of the eight responses best matched each question. We chose to settle on the most frequent match.
Tuesday: For each question, we outlined specific criteria that would assess their response. We called this Assessment Feedback. In addition, we linked these to learning outcomes which we called Achievements or "I have achieved the following:" In turn, we linked these learning outcomes to our PYP conceptual understandings, skills or attitudes.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: Students were given a Summative Assessment page for each question to refer to while they responded. We assessed their responses as they completed each assessment.
Monday: We returned the students' Summative Assessments to them along with a letter to each student summarizing his or her achievements and targets for all five Summative Assessment questions.