04 Jun

So many ways to assess. I’m not sure how to make it all go together.

I’d like to re-evaluate how I do homework next year. I don’t believe that homework should hurt a student’s grade. I just taught the concept and this is their first chance to practice without me providing any extra guidance, so I’ve always just given full credit for an assignment being completed with work. The problem last year was that I didn’t necessarily know how well the students completed the homework and neither did they. I didn’t have them grade the work or check their answers. Next year I’m thinking about providing the answers the next day, having students grade their assignment, but still  give them credit for completion. Then at least they would know how they were doing and so would I.

Daily Quiz/Bellwork/Warm-Up:
Whatever you call it in your classroom, this is the thing students do the moment the enter the room. I used this last year to scaffold the day’s lesson as well as check for understanding from last night’s homework. I’d include 1-2 problems that were needed skills for today’s lesson, 1-2 problems from last night’s homework, and 1-2 problems of spiral review from previous topics. Again, I gave students full credit if they completed it. This one, though, we graded in class so I could see where students had gaps in understanding.

Last year we put quizzes in the assessment category by objective, SB grading style. When we took the test, scores from the quizzes were replaced if students did better on a particular objective on the test. However, we let them use notes on the quizzes, which then didn’t really give us a clear picture of what they understood. Some teachers found it tedious to go back and replace scores at the test. This year we’re talking about not letting them use notes so as to get a better picture of understanding, and to put them under the assignment rather than assessment category so they have less impact on the grade. Also, we would not replace the scores because this is now essentially a graded classwork assignment. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet, but this is where the department conversation has gone thus far.

We switched to SB grading and entered them by objective this year. It was awesome to look at my gradebook and know what specific skills my students needed to work on. Students who wanted to improve grades no longer focused on the dreaded missing assignment because we made those such a small portion of the grade. Instead, they focused on coming to tutoring and completing re-takes of objectives they scored poorly on. I really liked this. We will keep this practice for next year. What I am toying with is moving toward at least some multiple choice tests. I’d like students to get used to this format before CSTs. I’m also going to add a component of self-assessment. Last year we put the rubric on the bottom of the test and told them to leave it blank for us to grade on. This year I’d like to give students & families a rubric at the start of the unit with a sample question for each topic. Then at both the quizzes and tests, students will select where they think their level of understanding lies.

A: I understand completely and could explain to a classmate
P: I understand the important things, but would have a hard time explaining to someone else
B: I have a general understanding, but I’m also confused about some important parts
BB: I know how to start, but I get lost after that
FBB: I do not understand this concept

I want to use this information to understand more of where my students’ confidence lies. Then when I make intervention groups, I know who the strongest students are for intervention leaders (those who scored Advanced and who feel Advanced).

All of this to say, what is the part of the homework, bell work, and quiz? Is there something different I could do that could be better? I’d like to make the grades 100% assessment, but my school was uncomfortable with the switch this year to 70% assessments. I don’t think there’s going to be much more give.


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2 responses to “Assessments

  1. Nikki Faith

    June 5, 2010 at 4:26 am

    I like your new blog! 🙂
    BTW, my links is different now for my blog: 😉
    And you know what’s just too funny? We’re using the same theme!!

    • jalzen

      June 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm

      Too funny! I updated my feeder and blogroll. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


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