Further Assessment Plan Information: Social Studies Assessment Plans


Reading Reflection: Zarrillo, Chapter 3

Summary

Much of what is discussed in Zarrillo’s 3rd chapter was also mentioned and discussed in the readings we did for this week’s notes. Zarrillo gives a good overview of assessment, talking about the different types of assessment, the essentials for good assessment, the importance of gathering data from multiple sources for analysis, alternatives to “traditional” method of assessment and recording information, specific guidelines for data analysis, and how to share data with each student and their parents. Throughout the chapter, Zarrillo makes it clear that there is no “perfect” way to assess students, rather, teachers need to determine what will best reflect what each of their students knows in a manner that provides multiple sources of evidence.

Helpful Ideas and Examples

Key idea: there need to be multiple sources of evidence for mastery. Reading this became a “light-bulb moment” for me. In each content area that I teach, I need to be able to prove without a doubt from multiple sources that my students have mastered my objectives (the state’s standards). Assessing a student only one way is a good start, but it does not provide evidence. Assessment in multiple ways gives the bigger picture and allows the teacher to start filling in the holes of the Swiss cheese.

Thoughtful and Authentic Question

How can I scaffold up to the point where note taking is actually effective without making it a boring and monotonous process?

Assumptions

I found all of the methods Zarrillo mentioned for how to gather data interesting, particularly because I remember my middle school social studies teacher doing many of these. Initially, I was discouraged when I realized this. I thought, “If my middle school teacher did these things, maybe I can’t get around the fact that social studies is just plain boring.” Thankfully, that thought went in one ear and out the other. I quickly thought back to the 5th grade social studies lesson I watched for class for week one; that teacher used many of these methods and his lesson was crazy exciting! I also thought back to what we’re learning about backwards design and what I’ve been learning in SCI-201 about 5E lesson planning. The reason my middle school teacher’s social studies class was so boring was because the bulk of her class was lecture, an activity or two, and a ritualistic regurgitation of needless facts and details every few weeks. I will not be that teacher. While I’m sure it will take years to develop and “perfect”, every part of my lessons that I plan will be completely intentional and designed in a way that best utilizes the time of both my students and I, and they will be specifically tailored to the needs of my students.

Go Back: Extra Reading: Social Studies Methods


Class Notes – Part 1

Annenberg Learner: Assessing Students’ Learning

  • Assessment helps us tap in substantially to what they have learned
    • Purpose: provide evidence that we know they’re really learning
  • Types: Formal and Informal
  • Means of Assessment
    • “Run back to your desk and write three things you learned about the story” – good way to evaluate
    • White Boards: ongoing review – dipping into student’s background knowledge and comprehension
      • Teacher asking questions, students providing answers on whiteboards
      • Helps know what pace to teach
      • Who to take aside later
      • Pros: appealing to kids,
    • Dipsticking: ongoing method for checking for understanding (thumbs up for ‘yes’ or ‘no”
      • Immediate feedback
    • Portfolio: range of assessments – multiple snapshots of a student’s performance over time
    • Friendly Letter: ownership of responsibility; narrative; voice is heard; hear what’s important to them
      • Builds leadership
    • Flip-book
      • Drawing as feedback
      • Comprehension: Flip book to show sequence of events (Sequencing)
      • Laying foundation for importance social studies skills
  • How to Assess
    • Different methods allow teachers to look for different things
      • Pictures: content, motor control, cognitive development
      • Writing: handwriting, ability to communicate concepts
  • Viewing Guide
    • Tool/Process? (How)
      • Gonzalez: Discussion time (“carpet time”), list between needs and wants (chart – words or pictures), model
      • Rubio: Researched based project
    • What?
      • Gonzalez: can the students make the connection between what a plant needs to grow and what they need to grow? (Critical thinking skills); Needs/Wants
    • Purpose?
      • Rubio: to teach about “mission”; to develop research skills/questions
    • Criteria? (Historical accuracy?)
      • Gonzalez: On each side of the chart, students need to have two things (two needs/two wants)
      • Rubio: very clear – model, poster, use technology, present (5-10 minutes long)
      • Sinclair – letters are criteria – real world connection; development of criteria can make or break a criteria – gauging whether or not students “get it”;
    • Criteria in Advance? (What about student’s criteria? How does it guide their work?)
      • Rubio: gave criteria in advance
    • Student Awareness?
    • Type of Feedback?
      • Rubio: questioned students
    • Opportunity to Revise?
    • Clue for Teacher
      • Rubio: Developing criteria – gave him a way to probe what his students know about
  • Mini-Lesson: Developing a timeline – most significant and influential people/times in US History
    • Purpose: try to make a convincing case about significant person – why they’re significant
    • How: Worked in groups to chose their significant person – create a visual and mini-presentation/lesson
    • Criteria
      • Content
        • Historically accurate
        • Connect periods
        • Link Events
      • Presentation
        • Visually interesting
        • Well-presented
        • Under two minutes
      • Assessment
        • Biography – content
        • Writing – sequencing and synthesizing

Engage

Explore 

Follow the instructions for this page and answer the five questions:

Articles – Notes

  • Performance Assessment
    • Simplest terms: “requires students to demonstrate that they have mastered specific skills and competencies by performing or producing something”
      • Designing and carrying out experiments
      • Writing critical thinking essays (integrate/apply information)
      • Group-work
      • Proficient use of technology/equipment
      • Writing (term papers, critiques, poems, short stories)
      • Giving speeches
      • Playing musical instruments
      • Oral examinations
      • Portfolios
      • Developing athletic skills/routines
    • Authentic Assessment: an assessment in which students are allowed adequate time to plan, to complete work, to self-assess, to revise, and to consult with others (APPLICATION‼)
      • Real-world standards and criteria
      • Three factors: task, context, evaluation criteria
        • Task: must be authentic – must apply concepts
        • Context: real-world setting
        • Criteria: high expectations – similar to that which is used to judge adults who perform or produce
      • Ultimately: targets higher level learning (bloom’s taxonomy)
    • Authentic Instruction and Learning
      • Authentic Instruction has three goals
        • Construct meaning and produce knowledge
        • Use disciplined inquiry to construct meaning
        • Aim work toward production of discourse, products, and performances that have value or meaning beyond success in school
      • Authentic Instruction Criteria
        • Higher order thinking skills
        • Depth of knowledge
        • Connectedness to the world
        • Substantive conversation
        • Social support for student achievement
    • Performance Criteria
      • Important:
        • Criteria define for students and others the type of behavior or attributes of a product which are expected
        • Well-defined scoring system allows the teacher, the students, and others to evaluate performance/product as objectively as possible
      • Development of performance criteria
        • Must define the attributes being evaluated and develop a performance continuum
        • Key: descriptive feedback – what can be done to improve?
    • Portfolios
      • Defined: purposeful collection of student work that tells the story of a student’s efforts, progress, or achievement in a given area over a period of time
      • Why?
        • Dissatisfaction with typical assessments (tests/quizzes/exams) – portfolios show growth
        • Motivates students, provides explicit examples to others about what the student knows and is capable of, shows growth and allows for self-assessment; encourages self-reflection
      • 5 questions
        • What will it look like?
        • What goes in?
        • How and when to select?
        • Evaluating Portfolios
        • Passing Portfolios on
    • Developing Performance Tasks
      • Three steps
        • List the skills and knowledge you wish to have students learn as a result of completing a task
          • Cognitive skills
          • Social and affective skills
          • Metacognitive skills
          • Problem solving
          • Application of concepts and principles
        • Design a performance task which requires the students to demonstrate these skills and knowledge
          • How long will it take students to develop skills?
          • Task shouldn’t be too complex
          • How does skill/accomplishment relate to other skills?
          • How does skill/accomplishment relate to long-term goals?
          • How does skill/accomplishment relate to school improvement plan?
          • Intrinsic importance of skill/accomplishment
          • Teachable? Attainable? Must be realistic
        • Develop explicit performance criteria: measure the extent to which students have mastered skills/knowledge
          • Scoring system – well defined
          • Model for high-mastery
    • Additional Recommendations
      • Performance/authentic assessments are not a new concept
      • Work together with other educators to design performance tasks
      • Tasks should be fair and unbiased
      • Tasks should be interesting, challenging, and achievable
      • Tasks should be self-sustaining (clear instructions – student focused)
  • Teaching for Understanding: Ongoing Assessment
    • What is it?
      • “When understanding is the purpose of instruction, the process of assessment is more than just evaluation: it is a substantive contribution to learning.”
      • Must inform students and teachers about what students currently understand and how to proceed with subsequent teaching and learning (formative assessment)
    • Key features
      • Establishing criteria
        • Clear
        • Relevant
        • Public
      • Providing feedback
        • Occur frequently (beginning to end)
        • Help students know how to improve (and how well they did)
        • Inform planning of subsequent classes/activities
        • Variety of perspectives: students’ reflection; classmates’ reflections; teacher
      • Planning
        • Use understanding goals to generate criteria for assessment
        • Build in opportunities for assessment throughout
        • Create opportunities within
        • Balance formal and informal feedback
        • Build in time to help students develop skills (self-reflection, peer assessment)
      • Teaching
        • Help students develop criteria themselves
        • Post criteria prominently
        • MODEL how to provide specific feedback
        • Useful tools: portfolios and reflection journals
        • Reflective Practice: reshaping curriculum to match students
  • Current Trends and Practices in Social Studies Assessment for the Early Grades
    • Goal-Oriented Practices
      • Why: Maintain momentum for teaching and learning
    • Activities for Instruction and Assessment
      • Varieties
        • Speech
        • Writing
        • Others
      • Setting
        • Whole class
        • Small-group
        • Individual
  • Understanding Rubrics
    • What is a Rubric?
      • Defined: a scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work, or “what counts”
      • Articulates gradations of quality for each criterion (excellent to poor)
    • Why Use Rubrics?
      • Powerful tools for teaching and assessment
        • Improve and monitor student performance
        • Clear expectations
        • Shows students how to meet expectations
        • Help define quality
      • Help students become more thoughtful judges of the quality of their own and others’ work
        • Self-assessment
        • Peer-assessment
        • Cuts down on the “Am I done yet” questions
      • Efficient: reduces time teachers spend evaluating student work
        • Informative feedback about strengths and weaknesses (areas for improvement)
      • “Accordion” nature allows them to accommodate heterogeneous classes
      • Easy to use and to explain
    • How Do You Create Rubrics?
      • Look at models: Examples of good and bad work
      • List criteria: discuss as class
      • Articulate gradations of quality: best, worst, and middle
      • Practice on models: use rubric on examples provided at the beginning
      • Use self- and peer-assessment
      • Revise: ALWAYS make time for revisions
      • Teacher assessment
    • Tips
      • Avoid unclear language: always go into further detail‼
      • Avoid negative language
      • Articulating gradations of quality is often a challenge

Questions

  1. What factors should be considered in planning for assessment?
    • End goals: ALWAYS keep the end goal in mind
    • Determine skills and knowledge students should attain
    • CRITERIA (use for creating a rubric)
      • Specific
      • Clear
      • Relevant
      • Public
    • Type of assessment: formative or summative?
      • Formative:
        • How often?
        • Planned?
        • Built-in opportunities?
      • Summative
        • Type/Format
        • Length of time
    • Flexibility of lesson/reflective practice – will the assessment actually be used to tailor lessons to student learning?
  2. How are goals, instruction, and assessment related?
    • In planning lessons and units, one must first examine goals – long-term goals (graduation – end of the year) and short-term goals (end of the day, end of the week, end of the unit). Once goals have been established, the teacher can then determine how he/she will measure these goals (assessment). Once assessment is determined, the teacher can then develop his/her instruction plan and tailor it to the assessment so as to prepare the students for the highest level of mastery possible.
  3. What is the relationship between standards and assessment?
    • Standards (and objectives) are a way of making goals specific, clear, and measurable. They are also a way to more easily scaffold learning to achieve long-term goals. Assessment comes into the picture when it comes to evaluating whether students have achieved the standards (and objectives). If students have not achieved the standards (and objectives), the teacher can evaluate from there whether to re-teach or move on (hopefully re-teach!).
  4. What should you consider as you develop criteria for rubrics?
    • No matter what I’m developing a rubric for or how in-depth I’m trying to make it, I must ALWAYS make my expectations clear. I cannot leave words such as “describe” or “explain” up to the interpretation of my students – I need to define those words more clearly for my students so they know how to achieve their learning goals
    • I should always clarify my rubrics and expectations with models – exemplify mastery and poor understanding
  5. What are the strengths of the following approaches?
    • Performance assessment
      • Allows students to demonstrate their mastery in a variety of ways
      • Not aimed at “content regurgitation” but “content application”
    • Authentic assessment
      • Real-world focused – real-world standards and expectations
    • Authentic instruction
      • Constructivist approach to learning and education
      • Targets higher-order thinking skills
    • Portfolio assessment
      • Gives more feedback than typical assessments provide (tests/exams/quizzes)
      • Shows student progress
      • Helps students develop self-assessment and peer-assessment

Explain 

Complete the Viewing Chart below and answer the following two questions:

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-2-41-45-pm

  1. Which of the methods and strategies you’ve read about or observed are most relevant to your work? Why?
    • Gonzolas’ use of the chart is something that can be used across multiple grade levels. As someone who wants to teach upper elementary, this is something that I think could be highly effective if used in the right manner
    • I love the option of allowing students to illustrate what they know. Not ever kid is gifted with words (but it’s still a skill that can be developed) so this allows those students to enjoy learning rather than struggle with the writing process.
    • Group-work and presentations is a great way to simulate real-world think-tank like situations. It fosters leadership in some and allows students to see the value in collaboration.
    • Rubrics will be very important to me, although I’m not looking forward to creating them – it seems like a tedious process.
  2. What are some ways you can begin to incorporate these strategies into your practice?
    • Practicing specific feedback – this is a tough area for me. I can easily judge whether or not something is good quality, but I have a hard time pinpointing and communicating why something is good or needs improvement. This is something I can do everyday in my interactions with others.
    • I like to observe my professors while they’re teaching – this gives me insights for what I want to do as a future teacher (and sometimes what I really don’t want to do as a future teacher). Knowing what others do helps me in self-assessment. I can examine my own current practices and re-evaluate for the future.

Apply 

Complete only Activity 1 (not Activity 2). After you have assessed the letters answer the following two questions:

  1. What did you learn from assessing the letters?
    • After assessing the letters and then comparing my assessment to the teacher’s assessment, I found that I was quite a bit stricter. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I always want to uphold high expectations, but I also want to stay within each student’s ZPD. Finding that balance was difficult in this activity and I think that is partly due to the lack of relationship the student and I share. I realize that I need to stay objective in the way in which I grade and assess, but I also need to push my students to do their best.
  2. What advice would you give each student for next steps?
    • Letter #1
      • Good writers clearly identify each of their arguments. Work on separating each argument or reason so it is obvious how many different arguments you are making.
      • Good writers check their pieces for spelling errors. Work on making sure each word is spelled correctly.
    • Letter #2
      • Good writers check their pieces for spelling errors. Work on making sure each word is spelled correctly. If you don’t know how to spell a word, check a dictionary or with your teacher.

Evaluate

Go Back: Extra Reading: Social Studies Methods


Class Notes – Part 2

  • Pg 53 Unit on Boats
    • Read/Review it
    • Looking back over the “what” we just talked about; answer this question:
      • Why did I put a sticky note in my book that said YUCK!?
        • Objectives: Shouldn’t be the same as the essential questions. There is no clear learning goal – just an idea for students to explore. It’s not stated how an “outside party” will be able to tell if a student has mastered the concepts. How can there be assessment if there are no objectives?
        • No focus – concepts and level of activities does not match up
        • Not authentic
        • NO CLEAR GOAL!!!
      • In your notes, indicate at least one reason for each of these slide headers that we just covered:
        • Curses: Too widespread
        • Big Ideas: Too specific
        • Essential Questions: Labeled as objectives – objectives need to define a clear learning goal and outline how mastery will be achieved: these questions don’t achieve either of these things.
        • Clarifying Content Priorities: no clear details or focus to take with to the next lesson.
      • Backward Design Curriculum: No design – it’s a conglomeration of random activities
      • Together with your neighbors describe a few ways the unit could be fixed considering each of the headings.
        • (THROW IT OUT!! – not really)
        • Broaden topic to clarify clear learning goal
        • Possible goals (Big Ideas)
          • Boats and their significance throughout history (specifically American history)
          • Trading: boats are one way – how else?
          • Transportation: boats are a means of transportation
          • Migration
        • Succinct and clear learning objectives that also describe how students will master or achieve the learning goals.
        • Assessment: widespread (many different sources of evidence) so as to gain a bigger picture about how well students have mastered the objectives.
          • “Tracking a product” – find where a product comes from, track it’s mode of transportation to where we use it today
          • Culturally – write a guidebook, plan a trip, etc.
        • Essential Questions (when do students need to be able to know/do/understand this in real life?)
          • How does transportation affect your daily life? (
          • How does transportation further society? (economics)
            • How do we get our stuff?
          • How do people get to where then want to go?
          • How does transportation vary across cultures?

Unit Plan Brainstorm

  • Grade Level Groups
  • Goal: Rough Unit Plans
    • Looking back at the activities we did with the standards brainstorm a list of 4-8 unit plan ideas
      • Determine at least one for each grade level
      • GLCE’s do not have to be within the same theme strand
        • Immigration
        • Cardinal directions
    • Pick one of the best ideas and do the following as a group:
      • Create a big idea and essential question(s)
        • Big Idea
          • Conflict – native Americans and early settlers
        • Essential Questions
          • How do you get along with strangers?
          • Should we accept others into our society?
          • Is there a perfect culture or society?
          • How do we work together to make a better culture?
      • Determine the GLCE’s that will be covered in the unit
        • History
          • 3-H3.0.6
          • 3-H3.0.8
          • 3-H3.0.5
        • Geography
          • 3-G1.0.3
          • 3-G4.0.2
        • Public Discourse
          • 3-P4.2.1
      • Create several critical thinking objectives
        • The learners will analyze the conflicts between Native Americans and the early settlers by composing a multifaceted piece that incorporates either a skit or video that looks at what might have happened if the conflict had gone differently.
      • Brainstorm possible pieces of evidence
        • Skits and videos
  • Review the lesson plan rubric
    • Read the highest level
      • Circle the features
    • Read the next level down (3)
      • Underline or highlight the differences between this and the top level
    • Continue through to the bottom level
  • Time to grade
    • Each student will be given a different lesson to grade
    • Grade the lesson according to the rubric making comments on the lessons
    • Share the lesson and the grade
  • Online Lessons
  • Best practices in searching – You get what you pay for.
  • What makes it a good lesson?
  • NEVER can you EVER use a lesson that someone else has created without tweaking it!
    • Your students are unique
    • You are unique
    • Mission/vision of school is unique
    • Community is unique
    • Big ideas/essential questions will differ
  • Remember to cite sources in all you do (including lesson plans)
  • The lessons/unit plans/assessment plans you submit must be entirely your own.
  • Carousel
  • Assessment Continuum
    • Screening/Pre-Assessments
      • Pre-test
      • Inventory
      • KWL
      • Checklist
      • Observation
      • Self-evaluation
      • Questioning
      • NWEA (standardized test)
    • Formative Assessments
      • Conference
      • Peer evaluation
      • Observation
      • Questioning
      • Exit card
      • Portfolio Check
      • Quiz
      • Self-evaluation
    • Summative Assessments
      • Unit Test
      • Performance Task
      • Product/Exhibit
      • Demonstration
      • Portfolio Review
      • NWEA (standardized test)
    • Check, Check, Check
      • How is someone who plans for assessments before planning lessons, different from someone who plans activities first?
        • Someone who plans for assessments first is keeping the “big picture” in mind. They know exactly what their students are going to be learning and exactly how they will demonstrate it. Someone who plans activities first has to somehow come up with an assessment that ties in everything learned in the activities – which is next to impossible to do, so inevitably, something always gets missed in the assessment (NOT IDEAL‼)
      • What is formative assessment and how is it best used?
        • A formative assessment is something used by the teacher as a “ruler” for where the student is at – it’s used for feedback and to help identify next learning steps. It’s best used when it is carefully tracked, tailored to fit the student, and when careful and descriptive feedback is given. This is not simply for the benefit of the teacher, it’s also to benefit the student, and they should generally be aware of what’s going on in the formative assessments (not always – that may defeat the purpose of the assessment).
    • Methods Match Targets
      • Targets (testing whether they….)
        • Knowledge
        • Reasoning
        • Skills
        • Product
        • Disposition (Affect) – change their thinking on something
      • Methods
        • Selected Response/Short Answer (key) – KNOWLEDGE
          • Multiple choice
          • Matching
          • Fill in the blank
          • Label a diagram
        • Extended Written Response (Scoring Guide) – KNOWLEDGE, REASONING, DISPOSITION
          • Several Sentences in length
        • Performance Assessment (Task & Criteria) – SKILLS, PRODUCTS, KNOWLEDGE, REASONING, DISPOSITION
          • Demonstrating skills
          • Developing products
          • Make sure criteria/instructions are clear
        • Personal Communication – REASONING, KNOWLEDGE, DISPOSITION
          • Example: Having students explain something rather than write about it
    • Performance Task Scenarios
      • Performance Tasks & Products (PDF)
        • Performance Student Roles and Audiences
        • Performance Products
        • Performance Task Examples
      • Complete the GRASPS Idea Starter sheet for a performance task that could be used at your grade level
      • Share your ideas at your table
      • Look back at the cards…
        • If you created a strong performance assessments with specific criteria. How many of the cards that you put in the selected response pile could get moved to the performance assessment pile?
      • Curricular Priorities & Assessment Methods
        • JUST HOW IMPORTANT IS WHAT YOU’RE TEACHING? – how well do you want your students to remember it?
  • Royce Sadler, 1989: “A key premise is that for students to be able to improve, they must have the capacity to monitor the quality of their own work during actual production. This in turn requires that students:
    • Know what high quality work looks like
    • Be able to objectively compare their work to the standard
    • Have a store of tactics to make work better based on their observations.”
  • Tips for Designing Effective Scoring Tools
    • Includes the most important traits in terms of purpose an quality
    • Common problems
      • Scoring the length of the paper instead of quality
      • Focusing n mechanics, organization, and presentation rather than content, substance, and effect
    • Check for consistency of descriptive terms
  • Common problems:
    • Scoring the length of the paper instead of quality
    • Focusing on mechanics, organization, and presentation rather than content, substance, and effect
  • Check for consistency of descriptive terms
  • Rubrics
  • Types:
    • Holistic Rubric
    • Analytic –Trait Rubric
  • Steps:
    • Break out into categories
    • First determine what is acceptable (meets expectations) – usually #3 then move up and down from there
    • http://rubistar.4teachers.org/
  • Avoid the most common problem with rubrics – weigh what’s important most heavily
  • Rubric Review
    • The rubric MUST show what the standard/GLCE is – did the student achieve mastery?
  • Sample Lesson Rubric
    • Initial thoughts
    • Pull apart the GLCE’s
  • 5 – U3.1.7 Describe how colonial experiences with self-government and ideas about government influenced the decision to declare independence.
  • 5 – U3.1.8 Identify a problem confronting people in the colonies, construct alternative choices for addressing the problem with possible consequences, and design the course of action taken.
    • Determine better categories for the rubric based on the GLCE
  • Potential Fixes…

Reflection – Combined

  • What? – New information?
  • So What? – Affected me?
  • Now What? – Challenged my thinking?

So far, I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of this class and not learned something (even on the weeks we didn’t actually meet!). This week was especially mind-blowing. Going into more detail about how to implement backwards design was extremely helpful as was brainstorming with others how to come up with a big idea, essential questions, objectives, and assessments. If I had had to do that all on my own right away, I would have been lost, but brainstorming with others really helped me understand the thinking process behind it and it helped me “expand” my creative juices. The bit of information that really affected me was the part how to organize and run a gradebook. Up until this point, I had been thinking about how I could do that and still measure whether or not students actually understood what I wanted them to. Up until this semester, not very many Profs have touched assessment. They’ve mentioned that it needs to be a part of every lesson, but not many (except for Professor Vander Kolk) have gone into further depth about it. One of my brothers (currently a senior in high school) has ADD, really struggles with Academics (especially tests), and has very little internal motivation to push himself in school. Seeing him struggle with this has brought me to the conclusion (a long time ago) that I did not want to assess my students primarily through tests and quizzes – it simply isn’t fair to those who don’t do well with it! Rather than assessing what they know, their minds freeze up and the information they studied so hard to remember goes into the witness protection program inside their brain. Up until this point, I also recognized that if I’m going to do away (for the most part but not completely) with the “traditional” forms of assessment, I would need to change the way I organize and run my gradebook, but I didn’t know how to do that. I was toying with a few options, one of which was that I would completely do away with “grades” (not assessment and feedback though!). I mentioned this idea to my mom and my boyfriend and they looked at me like I had transformed into a Martian. I knew that idea wouldn’t work completely, but I didn’t know how to match my gradebook to the type of assessments I wanted to do. And then this class happened. You talked about how you run your gradebook based on standards and how that gives you the freedom to do many different kinds of assessments that give each student their best shot at proving mastery. Not even kidding, I have thought about this every day since walking out of that classroom door – how I’m going to implement it, what I can do to stay organized in this, how I’ll keep track of formative assessments, how this will enable me to be better at reflective practice, etc. etc. etc. Seriously, simply by showing me (us) a new option for organizing and running my (our) gradebook, you’ve given me an excitement for teaching (and grading! Haha) that I knew I had in me, but it had been suppressed by the idea that I’d have to become a “robot teacher”, doing things in the “traditional” way simply because that’s how it’s been done for years and years and if I tried anything new, I’d be looked at like a Martian (the ugly stares from “traditional robot teachers” were a lot nastier than that in my head). Now that I feel like I have at least a good foundation for how to organize my gradebook in the future, I feel like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders. That may sound a little dramatic, but that burden was enough to inhibit every other aspect of my teaching, and now it’s gone!


Go Back: Extra Reading: Social Studies Methods

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