Sharing assessment & grading strategies that help students learn
This Forum Discussion began on 3/18/11 at the City of Salem Schools' Professional Development Day. Teachers who attended the session on The Heart of AFL discussed the core/key concepts of Assessment FOR Learning. They then worked together to create sample AFL professional growth objectives that they could use in their own classroom and/or that could be used by other teachers interested in incorporating more AFL strategies into their daily classroom practices.
While AFL activities can be isolated/specific lesson plans, AFL is most effective when it is woven into the fabric of the teacher's style and methods. Therefore, the goal for these objectives is that they be ones that could be used on a regular - even daily - basis as opposed to being used with a specific unit of study.
Below are four key slides from the Heart of AFL breakout session. The ideas in those slides should serve as the foundation for the growth objectives added to this forum.
During the 2011-2012 school year, I will:
1. Start each unit with a pre-test
2. Provide students with a rubric that lists the topics that they should learn for each unit of study. The rubric will include "rankings" of how well the student has mastered each topic. The rankings will include 'unacceptable,' 'developing,' 'proficient,' and 'exemplary.'
3. Provide mini-assessments or checkups throughout the unit of study.
4. Develop a way of knowing daily what the students have learned. This will include:
a. Today I learned ____.
b. I really understand _____.
c. I don't quite get _____.
5. Have students create study guides for themselves throughout the unit of study. These study guides will only include material from topics in which students have not ranked themselves as exemplary.
6. Develop an "anxiety meter reading" two days prior to a test. This will allow students to evaluate themselves and allow me to determine what I need to do the day prior to a test.
During the 2011-2012 school year I will schedule reading conferences with individual students on a weekly basis. My conferences will be designed to give descriptive feedback to the individual child about their reading needs. I will listen to the student read and key in on a major area the child could improve. For example, a student may need to focus on accurately reading the words in a text. I will then model for the student a strategy that will improve the skill they are struggling with in reading. I will then have the student practice the strategy. Then, I will give the student a target goal and assignment that will foster the development of the skill. I will record the information and make it accessible t the student. I will check in frequently (weekly) to assess the student’s progress and realign goals for the individual student. This will be evidenced by lesson plans, anecdotal notes, and conference schedules.
During the 2011-2012 school year I will:
Have students evaluate each other daily on their work and use the feedback to create study guides based on what they still need to work on.
As a special education teacher, l will begin the following practice in 2011-2012:
The student's ticket out the door is an answer to a question from the day's lesson. Although this is not a new idea, I have modified it just a bit. I give homework based upon the level of understanding. Each student has feedback on understanding as well as meaningful practice.
In addition to the above, I will give "ghost grades". Students are given an assignment "ghost grade" so that they might see what their grade would be if we were testing at the current point in a given unit. This makes learning more concrete for the younger student.
During the 2011-2012 school year:
My AFL objective will be to:
1. Expand my webpage area that includes sample questions from the current multiple choice format to include all parts of my tests.
2. Allow access to the site throughout the year rather than by unit.
3. Have the students actively use the website to aid them in test and quiz preparation.
4. Coordinate materials from the site to the assessment.
5. Develop a blog for informational purposes tied to the site in which the students can receive feedback.
During the 2011-2012 school year, my AFL objective will consist of two parts:
1. Two days before a unit test, each student will submit to me two questions: one question involves something they are sure will appear on the unit test and the other is a question dealing with an area they need clarification with before the test. These questions will serve as their "exit slip" from the class, and I will use the information gathered from these student responses in my in-class reviews.
2. I will add a series of review question to my on-line web site to help students prepare for upcoming tests and quizzes. These questions will be available throughout the year, and can be used as pre-test or post-test materials for the unit. Some questions will be in multiple-choice format, and others will be short answer.
During the 2011-2012 school year, I will:
1. Create a pre-test for each unit in order to assess students' prior knowledge. This will allow me to identify the sections in a unit where students might need more direct instruction.
2. Create a checklist for each unit where students can identify the topics that they feel they know versus the topics they need to study. This will be given a few days before a test so that they may focus their study time. At the end of the year, the checklists can be used for SOL review.
3. Ask students to draw a diagram for a concept and then write in complete sentences what is happening for that concept. For example, draw a diagram of the 3 types of plate boundaries then write in complete sentences describing what is happening at each boundary. Students will receive descriptive feedback correcting any error/misunderstandings.
Ideas for AFL for 2011-2011:
1. I can post test outlines on my webpage instead of giving them in class, thus giving students more time to prepare and to ask questions about sections of the test/question formats about which they are unsure.
2. I can continue to use and expand the use of white boards to assess students' mastery of grammatical concepts.
3. In addition to "brainstorming" vocabulary at the beginning of each unit with the purpose of activating prior knowledge to be integrated into the upcoming unit, I can have students "brainstorm" grammatical concepts which would fit the topic being studied. This would show me their areas of interest AND let me see which grammatical ideas need to be reviewed and fleshed out within a given unit. This would work especially well with upper-level language classes where synthesis of numerous concepts is required.
During the 2011-2012 school year, a pre-test will be given before beginning new grammmar topics to determine prior knowledge of the topic being taught. Data from the pre-test will determine teaching approaches and strategies.