On Getting The Concept Checklist Wrong These Last Six Years

May as well get this out of the way as long as I’m in this public state of contrition.

The concept checklist, in theory, is where students track their progress towards mastery. They write down concept names in rows as we test them and then record their scores (on a four-point scale) along that row, one after the other, each time they retake a concept quiz. I log only their highest scores in the gradebook and whenever they record two perfect scores on a concept, they never have to take that concept again.

The concept checklist is a mess. I run through the same script every year, illustrating the same process with better and more precise visuals every year to no avail. The process confuses students. The process puts students farther from meaningful self-assessment not closer. I saw another checklist crumpled in the trash last week and figured it out.

Their highest score matters much more to me than the specific ordering of low scores preceding it. So forget the earlier low scores. Students add length to the bar as they improve on earlier scores. This checklist design is consistent with our class ethic that “what you know now matters to us more than what you used to know,” whereas the other design maintains a permanent record of “what you used to know.”

So here’s an updated attachment.

BTW: Reader Jacob Morrill does me one (or two or three) better with his adaptation, which is superbly designed: