I’ve posted a lot about my trials and errors with SBG but for the most part what I do is what I was doing in 2017. I’ve written about this scheme here. I’ve given different thoughts to how (or if I should) incorporate performance tasks, tests or other summative assessments but mostly I just use SBG for all my grading. In 2017 I said that the final mark creation involved some voodoo.
A couple of weeks ago I was reading through some of my edu feed and I came across a post about assessing curricular competencies in the new BC science curriculum. The post discussed feedback cycles on the competencies. After reading the post I felt kind of anxious, which isn’t that uncommon for me when I read something that I know I can improve on, or should be doing better with. Later in the day I was still feeling bothered and then it finally dawned to me that when I read about assessing curricular competencies, I end up feeling crappy.
Over time I’ve been playing with the format of my SBG tracking sheets. The biggest change for me is the addition of tracking curricular competencies. Tracking curricular competencies is pretty tricky in my opinion. While I fully and enthusiastically agree in practicing and recognizing curricular competencies, I’m much less interested in grading them. Why? Because many competencies cannot be taught. For example, I can teach a student to factor a polynomial, but I cannot teach a student “to use logic.
One thing that I’ve always struggled with is adding challenging questions to my assessments within a SBG scheme. Like a lot of people using SBG, I use a 4 point scale. The upper limit on this scale is similar to an A, and for the sake of the post I’ll refer to the top proficiency as “mastery”. If a student were to get an A in a course I teach, roughly speaking they would have to be at the mastery level in at least half of the learning objectives, and then only if they don’t have any level 2 grades.
I’ve written about my usual SBG scheme here. It works fine and many students take advantage of learning at a slightly different pace but still getting credit for what they know, once they know it. However, I’m interested in keeping small quizzes primarily in the formative domain, yet using an assessment tool that is based on clear learning objectives, re-testable and flexible. This post talks about a possible transition from using a few dozen learning objectives in quizzes to a new, larger goal assessment tool.
The Task I recently sent out a survey to Twitter where 50 respondents were presented with series of scores for students. The scores were for individual learning objectives and all the scores are based on a 3 point or 4 point proficiency scale. Each score was indicated by one of four different colours. Users were asked to come up with an overall letter grade and percent for each student based on these learning objective scores.
Last night I was at a district meeting on Communicating Student Learning. There are a few different CSL projects going on in our school district and these meetings are good places to share our individual school experiences and collaborate on new ideas. At one point in the meeting, two concerns about proficiency based assessment/reporting came up. I wanted to write about them because these are two issues that I see raised with regards to assessment and Standards Based Grading (SBG) quite often and they are great questions.
Today in physics 11 I tried a new lab using our motion and force sensors, carts and tracks. The lab idea is from New Visions and I believe that the script that I was working from was written by Kelly O’Shea and Mark Schober. I was pretty excited to give it a try because I’ve always just told my students that the area under a force-distance graph is work. With this lab, students develop the idea from direct evidence.
I’ve seen lots of pictures of math Thinking Classrooms on twitter and I’ve also come across a few videos. I haven’t seen anything that followed the dialogue in a classroom, so I thought I’d try to capture a bit of that aspect in this blog post. What I have below isn’t all that different from a lot of lessons except that you have to visualize how the students are situated. They are not copying something down from me.
Following up from my previous post, here is another brief set of notes on the action and dialogue in my grade 8 math class. We start the day out with some voting questions where we use Plickers and Peer Instruction. My general instructions for all classes when doing voting questions are as follows: No talking allowed while voting. No sharing of answers or ideas. I want to see what your thinking and if you take your idea from someone else, I won’t know if you get it or not.