The Assessment Network

Sharing assessment & grading strategies that help students learn

This Forum Discussion was started for Salem High School's Staff Development Faculty Meeting held on 10/28//09.

For today's staff development activity, SHS faculty members will be analyzing an example of AFL and determining how the example could be applied to their classrooms. Teachers not from SHS are welcome to join in the discussion.

Step 1
Please watch the following short video:


Step 2
After watching the video talk about it with the other teachers in your group. (Your group should consist of teachers who teach approximately the same course as you do.) You might choose to discuss some of the AFL elements in her idea. These would include:

1. The teacher gets a feel for how students believe they are doing and knows whether or not students need special attention or whether or not the class needs additional instruction before the test.

2. Students have an opportunity to assess/rate how well they are doing. They realize that the grade on this assessment will not hurt them because they can redo it. This frees them up to do their best without the pressure of a grade.

3. Students use feedback from GPS to guide their studies as they decide whether or not they need to retake it and if so what they need to study.

4. The name GPS gives students a vision for the purpose of assessment feedback - feedback (the grade) exists so that students can find out where they are and figure out how to get on the right path.

5. This idea fits in with the 6th of the 6 Key AFL ideas - students need to know what they need to know so they know if they know it.

Step 3
Answer the following question by replying to this forum discussion:

How could you apply Beth Moody's GPS idea to your own classroom?

If you have questions about Beth Moody's GPS idea, please feel free to contact her via email by clicking on this link.

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By using the page up page down technique in the top left hand corner.
I could give quizzes during history or structure units that only cover one small part of an upcoming test. I like the idea of the student circling the up or down arrow to indicate their comfort level. This would break down the material into smaller units and let them master a little at a time. Smaller quizzes would also make it easy to return them quickly.
You can use this method in conjunction with a written quiz/test review handed in before the quiz or test.
The US history teachers could use SOS which means Survey Of Self:
Give students short, quick questions to survey their knowledge on basic facts within the unit in order to see if they are "getting it." As the teacher goes over the answers, students can do a "thumbs up/thumbs down" to see if they understand each issue. If there are more "thumbs down," we go over the material again.
Nice acronym - SOS - I like that. These are the sort of things that help students grasp the purpose of the assessment.
In Foreign Language classes, we could do a GPS on individual grammar skills to test to see where they are before we go on to an application type exercise (reading/writing).
We have used Check ups in our math classes that involve boxes, each covering a different skill. Students answer the question in the box and circle one of the following smiley faces to convey their comfort level with the skill [ :), :|, or :( ]. Check ups do not count for a grade, but students use the feedback to prepare for the quiz or test. We also go over questions that were commonly missed or whose comfort level was low.

- Erin & Alisa
Map Skills - have students identiy 5 particular countries/regions. Continue, but add steps, either adding new countries/regions or including particular facts historical or geographic about the region. Students can assess knowledge by their ability to master each step. Instead of an up/down arrow, students will identify their mastery by circling page, squire, knight, lord, or king/queen. Students will continue practice until achieving a royal status.

Submitted by Justin Halterman and Pam Carter for World History Classes
Royal Status!! Great idea. I like the idea of them seeing a progression of their own learning.
Prior to a test students are given a test review. This idea can be applied by having each student rate their level of confidence on each problem by using whatever symbol you want to use.

The test grade can go back and replace quiz grades that cover the same material.
In a computer class where students are learning skills with the software, break down the tasks and have the students perform certain sections every 2 or 3 days to see if they to get feedback on their understanding.
Guidance can use Beth's GPS method during registration process. The quick look up option can be used to assist the student in assesting whether or not he/she is ready to move forward to the next level of classes.

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