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Your first question should be: what is an open assessment? Unlike traditional “closed” assessments that feature selected-response multiple choice questions, open assessments do not present teacher-constructed prompts that have a single expected answer. According to Milner and Milner, the open assessment “provides students with more freedom of response...Its aim is a creative, idiosyncratic synthesis of the material in question” (Milner & Milner, 2012). You may be asking how an open assessment is any different than an essay test. The difference is that the open assessment’s goal is to create a structure and context in which students delve deeper into the material than they could on any multiple choice assessment or essay test.
Open Assessments engage all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, allow student creativity and choice, and represent all of the Multiple Intelligences (if possible).
Time: Test can either be take-home or one class period (especially good if on block schedule).
Download includes: Introduction, Instructions, Open Assessment, and Rubric.
Milner, J. O., & Milner, L. M. (2012). Bridging english. (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.