Why Making is Important to Assessment and Why Assessment is Important to Making

Why Making is Important to Assessment and Why Assessment is Important to Making: Probing the Opportunities and Challenges of this Interdependent Relationship in K-12 Settings

9:30 – 5:00 | University of California, Irvine. Woods Cove AB  | Wednesday, October 4, 2017
6 hours | 20 Participant Maximum
Cost: $100

*Space is limited, passes remain available until the workshop is full.

Jessica Parker | Maker Ed | Email: Jessica@MakerEd.Org | Twitter: @JessicaKParker
Stephanie Chang | Maker Ed | Email: Stephanie@MakerEd.Org | Twitter: @heyasteph

Maker education—an open-ended, process-driven, youth-centered learning approach—shows tremendous potential in preparing young people for the innovation economy of the future (Peppler & Bender, 2013). However, one of the greatest challenges of implementing making in K–12 schools is the question of how to assess collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and iterative making practices and outcomes. Advocates of maker education have been cautious about applying traditional assessment measures to making because they fear that its richness and complexity will be diluted or fundamentally changed by narrow definitions of learning and success. Meanwhile, school leaders often question whether to invest in maker-centered learning because there is not published evidence that making improves students’ standardized test scores. This situation challenges how we think about measuring learning through making and how we measure learning in K-12 settings in general. Thus, the guiding prompt for this pre-conference workshop asks why making is important to assessment and why assessment is important to making in K-12 education.

This workshop will bring together researchers, educators, and designers who are interested in negotiating the potential opportunities, challenges, and current needs related to making and assessment within a K-12 context. The workshop will be broken into two segments, an active morning portion that works through the guiding prompt with a concrete and applied lens, followed by an afternoon portion that pulls out key lessons learned. The morning portion, centered around hands-on workshopping of maker-centered activities, will allow participants to utilize maker activities as a foundation for analyzing both perspectives of the dual-sided question. The afternoon portion will focus on developing ideas and working towards an outline for a white paper, capturing key questions, realizations, and next steps forward related to the interdependent relationship between making and assessment within school-based learning. Potential sections of a white paper might include the state of assessment and making in K-12, roles and relations of power within school-based assessment, lessons to be drawn from early childhood and out-of-school-time learning opportunities, recommendations for maker-centered assessment practices, and a list of current maker-based instruments and their affordances.

Applicants for the workshop will commit to outlining sections of a white paper on the topic, and with potential funding and stipends, will be encouraged to help write up specific sections of the white paper throughout the winter. The final version will be published by Maker Ed in spring 2018.


  • Yoon Jeon (YJ) Kim | MIT | Email: yjk7@mit.edu | Twitter: @yoonjeonkim
  • Diana Arya | UC Santa Barbara | Email: darya@education.ucsb.edu | Twitter: @dianajarya

Download workshop flyer here.