Using Video Resumes to Impact Student Outcomes

I loved to use video in school for a variety of reason. But I recommended its use because I believed  it held enormous potential for education.   Educators have grown tired of reading dense, dry reports and interpolating meaningless statistics. Videos were simple to create and offered so much useful information. Educators might actually bother to use them. 

I was so enthusiastic about video that I submitted it as evidence for NY State Alternate Assessment.  That was in 2004, the first year such evidence was authorized and, interestingly enough, I was the only teacher in the state to do so.   I also presented a program for implementing Video Resumes to the City Department of Special Education


Submitting work samples and sequential photographs to document student performance serves no purpose. 

Non-testable students should be assessed for independence and their ability to participate in community life.   Video Resumes are a useful predictor of such success.

A Video Resume is a portfolio containing multiple clips capturing the performance of students exempted from standardized assessment.  Unlike other non-standardized tools that quantify specific competencies,  video clips paint a picture of how well students apply their skills and knowledge in multiple social settings – school, home and community.

The Resume captures intangibles  that other tools are blind to:

  • Character
  • Social skill
  • Emotional tone
  • Extraneous behaviors
  • Learning rate and style
  • Intellectual functioning

These “intangibles” help us understand how a student acquires, processes and uses information. They contribute to our understanding a student’s ability to focus, the ability to interact with others, attitude, and the need for prompts.  Intangibles also provide feedback on the effectiveness of instruction.

In addition to the above, video captures :

  • Performance of specific knowledge or skils
  • Student competency in isolation and while in various social milieu
  • The existance of concomitant skills and behaviors
  • Range and depth of general knowledge
  • Ability to self-mediate

VR impacts instruction by:

  • Improving the ability to estimate functional groupings and levels of support
  • Improving understanding of problem behaviors and their antecedents
  • Indicating program effectiveness
  • Being simpler and easier to use that statistics or reports
  • Enabling teacher to plan instruction sooner
  • Helping to establish more meaningful IEP goals
  • Providing a new tool to evaluate related-service progress

VR impacts assessment / review because it is:

  • Easy to record, save and review on a continuous basis
  • Portable and accessible – can’t be misplaced
  • Easily updated
  • Quicker and easier to understand than lengthy written reports and statistics
  • Clarifies information presented at parent-teacher conferences
  • A more detailed picture of the child – especially those who are non-communicative
  • Independent of verbal and processing skills
  • Provides evidence of student progress over time

VR impacts the student by providing:

  • Understandable feedback about themselves
  • A record of personal growth over time
  • Meaning for students with verbal processing problems
  • Motivation for students to demonstrate abilities
  • The ability for students to demonstrate themselves in the best possible light at any moment in time
  • Stimulation for metacognitive thought and language development

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