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.
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.
One thing that I’ve struggled with for years is trying to fit in the curricular content for physics 11. I know that I’m weeks behind most physics teachers in BC. I always start the year off with the best intentions with planning, and the planning is generally ok in that I remain focused on the goals and sequence.* I’m interested in trying to improve my sequence and scheduling so that it is appropriate in coverage and understanding, and accomplishes what I want it to, recognizing that unit planning is a personal thing even when working within the guidelines of the set curriculum.
I’ll be teaching both physics 11 and physics 12 again next year and I’m interested in doing more performance task assessments than I did this year. I had intended on using more goal-less problems in ph11 this year but I always felt like I was under the gun for time constraints. As for ph12 next year, my co-worker is interested in sharing some common assessment strategies between his classes and mine.
One thing I’ve been trying to implement more and more into my units are Performance Tasks. McTighe and Wiggins in their Understanding by Design framework say that a Performance Task is an authentic assessment where students demonstrate the desired understandings. In my context, I currently use small SBG quizzes for the bulk of my assessments. Jay McTighe, who I had the pleasure and privilege of having lunch with, would probably call my quizzes “supplementary” evidence.
As It Stands After two months of I decided to return to my previous system of SBG objectives. Read on to see what I had tried but ultimately didn’t continue with. This year was once again fairly successful with SBG. I managed to work the Transfer Tasks into my system OK, which made me feel better about students that get all “mastered” on their learning objectives. However, I’m still not satisfied with how this works out.
Something just dawned on me and I wanted to write it down before I forget. Maybe this is already obvious to many people but it was a new realization for myself. In physics I stress that Work is a transfer of energy in or out of a system. I don’t specifically invoke the “Work-Energy” theorem, as I really try to stress that work can be found by analyzing the transfers of energy.
This year in Science 9 I wanted the students to be able to perform a task for their final assessment in the electricity unit. Besides all the theory and concepts, I felt that after studying dc circuits the kids should be able to do something with it. Enter the Black Box Test. The general idea is that each black box has 3 to 4 light bulbs on it with the wires hidden.
The thoughts below are based on my experience working as mechanical engineer for 15 years, my experience as a high school science and physics teacher, my interest in professional development, and my study of problem based learning and how to educate competent, useful and resourceful students. Science K - 9 In general I’m very pleased with the draft K - 9 curriculum. I had sent feedback and ideas about the new curriculum before the drafts were published.