Search Results for "assessment"

Total 126 Posts

Guiding Principles For Assessment

I’m back off a five-day trip attending my fiancée’s graduation in Los Angeles. I’m back, wishing I had more May, and wondering what you do here:

A student wanders dazed into your class on [x, where x is some second semester date] with a failing grade, wondering if passing is even possible.

Under typical assessment — comprehensive, tight-fisted, chapter-based stuff — if [x] is anything later than Cinco de Mayo, the student is screwed. And so are you. Because if you tell that student no, sorry, friend, we’ll see you next year, that kid has no other purpose in your class except self-amusement, which will almost certainly conflict with your purpose. Enjoy the seventh circle of classroom management hell.

I don’t know how to fully control for synthesis. I don’t know how to fully control for rote memorization. I don’t know how to fully integrate this into the humanities.

But if my career spun a wacky, cinematic 180° and I found myself teaching (eg.) English comp, I’d build my assessment strategy around three unshakable convictions, convictions which conventional assessment fails at most turns, convictions which aren’t exclusive to mathematics.

  1. It doesn’t matter when you learn it, so long as you learn it. A student’s grade should reflect her current understanding of the course, not last month’s, not her understanding when it was convenient for me to assess her. Keep a loose grip on your students’ grades.
  2. My assessment policy needs to direct my remediation of your skills. My comprehensive test on “Twelfth Night” won’t do much for us two months down the road when you come in looking to patch yourself up. Assign separate scores to “Twelfth Night Themes,” “Twelfth Night Vocabulary,” and “Twelfth Night [whatever else it is you English teachers do],” scores which can be targeted and remediated individually.
  3. My assessment policy needs to incentivize your own remediation. How many students will put in the effort to remediate their skills if the reward isn’t tangible and immediate? Traditionally, what do you have? The promise that your studying here at lunch is really gonna pay off on the next test? Which is in three weeks. The student’s like, awesome, glad I came in.

That’s everything.

I can’t fully answer the question “how does this work in [x, where x is some course which isn’t math]?” but I promise you that if I was drafted into the service of [x], I’d fight with as much creativity as I could muster to keep those principles intact.

On Nailing/Blowing Assessment

Blowing It

Me, on our last concept quiz, balling both Law of Sines and Law of Cosines into the same heading:

I watched kids tear Law of Sines apart and then get torn apart by Law of Cosines. I was about to toss 2 points out of a possible 4 into the gradebook for, like, seventy students.

But then they come in for help a week, maybe two weeks down the line and what? How does that 2/4 direct my remediation? Which don’t they understand? Law of Sines or Cosines?

And here I try so hard to imagine: how in the world did I ever lump a dozen skills under the same “Chapter [x] Test” heading, the preferred grading strategy of the world’s math teachers?

Disaggregation is the name of the game. It empowers students and teachers. So, on the next test, I did:

Nailing It

Frank N., from the comments, co-opting this assessment strategy for physics.

Now, has all this craziness made a difference? I can tell you this: the kids don’t feel defeated by physics as they did in years past. They can get a 2/10, realize that they didn’t know what they thought they knew, and come back to get a 9/10 and feel great. Plus, when it comes down to grades, there isn’t anything stopping them from getting a 100 each quarter. The ball in in THEIR court. How can a parent argue with a system like that?

In addition, I can immediately tell which topics need re-teaching by me and which the kids get right away.


How Assessment Oughtta Be

Off his students’ distraction, TMAO pulls his unit assessments back in, tells his students not to worry, they’ll do it some other day when they’re better prepared for the challenge, except, one by one, they ask him for another shot.

Now nearly every hand is in the air, delivering the line with increasing rigor and strength, taking their tests and working now for real. One kid chokes on the words; another giggles. They do not receive a test. These are serious words spoken by serious people, people who want to do serious work, I say. Another student tries to wait me out. I ignore her and her short-lived rebellion, and eventually the hand hits the air: “I am ready to step up.”

Ascendéte, Jaguar.

I swear if I saw the same scene in a movie I’d double over laughing. This guy is the real deal, though.

The Comprehensive Math Assessment Resource

Due to time constraints in my corner of the world (school started a week ago) I’m gonna have to shelve my typically softspoken online persona and get straight to it. If you’d like to see assessment amount to more than a meaningless exercise in classroom control, if you’d like to see cheating drop and confidence rise, if you’d like to see a higher correlation between the grade you feel a student deserves and the grade on that student’s transcript …

… take something from this page.