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.
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.
In an earlier post I wrote about how I felt that I tend to move slowly through curriculum. One of the things I do that slows things down is frequent quizzing and post-quiz self/group assessment. Usually once every 5 classes (or less) we will have a quiz that can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 25 minutes. Once everyone is finished, the quizzes are handed back to the students and we go over the solutions.
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.
A few weeks ago in Physics 11 I decided to return to my previous SBG scheme. I had started the year using a level scale. The reason was because I wanted to give specific difficulty targets for learning objectives. However, this method turned out to be too confusing, especially for the students. I had the feeling that my students really had only a small understanding of what or how they were assessing their work.
I’m really kicking myself for not getting this ready before the Catalyst conference in Richmond. I’ve created a form where attendees, or anyone else interest in SBG, can input their name, email address and whether or not they want to be added to a list of SBG users. What I/we actually do with this list is a whole other question… Maybe I can sort names and just let people know who else is doing SBG in their district.