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 continue working on the following objectives from the current school year:
1. Continue to improve my web materials to increase the number of 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. Encourage the students actively use the website to aid them in test, quiz, and exam preparation.
4. Coordinate materials from the site to the assessment.
Billy Sample was the only Salem student to achieve a big-league professional sports career as a player. When his career with the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and Atlanta Braves was over, I asked him why he thought that he was the one, among thousands who dreamed the dream, to actually achieve a major league career. He said that he thought it was because he never compared himself to anyone else. He just tried to be a little better each day than he was the day before.
John Wooden cautioned young people: “Don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do.” Life is just a list of “can’t do” and “can do.” The job of each student is to move one thing at a time from the “can’t do” column into the “can do” column.
Considering the thoughts of these two successful men, I propose to do the following in my class during the 2011-2012 school year:
I will bookend my class with the usual Do Now assignment at the beginning but add an End Do Agenda Assignment at the end of class. The Do Now assignment will include the objectives for the day. The End Do assignment will require the student to write in the agenda
1) What the student can do as a result of the class that day
2) What the student can’t do YET
3) An assignment the student makes to himself or herself – This assignment should identify a “can’t do” from the day and accomplish moving that “can’t do” into the “can do” column. The assignment could be to study some new vocabulary, or it could be to get help the next morning before school. The important thing is to get students making assignments for themselves that will result in mastery of the objectives.
I will also place a shoe box next to the door. Blank note cards will also be there. The box will be black and have the words “Black Hole” on it. Students will be asked to drop cards into the box indicating those dark holes where no light is shining for them yet.
The End Do assignment is used by the student to identify the skills they need to improve and what they will do to accomplish that improvement. The black box will be used to identify problems that need to be addressed the next day in class or individually with students.
I see the 10th grade writing predictor as a prime example of using AFL to help improve students' writing and to prepare students for the 11th grade writing SOL. As an 11th grade teacher, personally assessing the writing predictors and their scores gives me an initial idea of what types of writers my students are; however, simply looking at the papers and returning the scored predictors to the students only allows them to see where they are weak. To go beyond this and work towards improvement, I will implement several activities:
1. Students will practice scoring their peers' papers (or sample papers) to gain understanding of the rubric.
2. Students will analyze their own papers to determine why they earned the scores they did.
3. I will meet with students who have failing scores to help them uncover and improve upon their weaknesses.
4. Students will compare their scores on the predictors with future papers that I have graded using the SOL rubric to show if improvement has been made.
Throughout these stages, I will teach lessons on composing, written expression and usage/mechanics. Evidence will come from the paper comparisons in #4 and from SOL scores.
During the 2011 – 2012 school year, I will have students evaluate sample projects using a grading rubric. Some of the projects will be “A” quality and some will have errors in them. As students discover the errors they will be able to prepare better for their own project and they will also use the rubric to grade their projects prior to turning them in. This will be evidenced by student self-evaluated rubrics.
During the 2011-2012 school year I will have a 3-column chart for each unit of study that I teach. Each student will have their own chart and will be able to check the topics as "Got it!", "Still Getting It", or "Not Yet". Evidence for this will be several students' charts presented at the end of the year.
The purpose of this is to allow students to see what they must master, to gauge their level of mastery on each topic, and to know where they must apply their time for full mastery of all topics.
During the 2011-2012 school year I will give my health students a pre-vocab test of each lesson of a chosen health chapter. Students will write a sentence using each term and turn in. This info will be used to determine what areas of content needs to be addressed. At the end of each lesson students will write sentences again. This will be evidenced by my plan book and grade book