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Sharing assessment & grading strategies that help students learn

Scott Habeeb's Blog (119)

Part 2 - What we WANT students to do v. What we TRAIN students to do

This post is a follow-up to an earlier post. It will make the most sense if read in that context.

After reading over my recent post entitled What we WANT students to do v. What we TRAIN students to do, I began to hear in my mind…


Added by Scott Habeeb on December 14, 2010 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

What we WANT students to do v. What we TRAIN students to do

Here is a conversation you will probably never hear:

Sea World Trainer 1: "I am so tired of these seals. They always want a fish every time they do anything!"
Sea World Trainer 2: "Tell me about it. It's like they don't understand how important the show is. They only care about getting fish!"

The other day I was talking with Jamie Garst, a Chemistry/IB Biology teacher at… Continue

Added by Scott Habeeb on December 9, 2010 at 5:26pm — 2 Comments

A student AFL conversation overheard in the library...

A few days ago I happened to be walking through the library before school. Two female students were sitting at a table doing homework.

One of the students was working on a Math assignment. I heard her ask the other student, "Did you already do your Math homework?"

The other student replied, "No. I wait until after the 'check-up' and then decide if I need to do the homework."

Not knowing the class, the teacher, the…

Added by Scott Habeeb on November 23, 2010 at 10:29am — No Comments

An AFL Homework Practice

Sitting this morning in a Student Support Team meeting I heard Beth Moody, a math teacher at SHS, explain her homework practice. It was a wonderful example of AFL in action.

First of all, homework did not count against you. After all, why should practice count against you? Not doing homework or not doing it well does not inherently indicate how well students are mastering…

Added by Scott Habeeb on November 22, 2010 at 11:21am — 1 Comment

A great reminder for students

Kudos to Salem High School math teacher, Erin Stenger, for thinking to put a sign like this right next to her doorway where students will see it each day as they leave her class.

It has been noted before on this website that for AFL to truly have its greatest possible impact, the students need to be using assessment-elicited…


Added by Scott Habeeb on November 15, 2010 at 10:30am — No Comments

How do you really know if you taught "it"?

Note to teachers from Salem High School: This is a post about teaching, teachers, and students in general as opposed to a post about specific situations at Salem High School.

So after all the lesson plans have been created, all the class time has been spent, and all the papers have been graded, how do you really know if you've taught your content well?
I might get under some people's skin with this post, but I want to get us to really think about our profession…

Added by Scott Habeeb on November 11, 2010 at 10:00pm — 9 Comments

AFL and Learning to Drive

Have you ever watched a teenager prepare for the DMV Learner's Permit test? If you have, then you'll know what I mean when I say that it is an excellent example of Assessment FOR Learning.

(As an aside, I'm having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that my oldest child is now learning to drive a car. Kaitlin is everything I could ask for in a daughter with one exception - she has moved beyond the age of 8!)

The Virginia Department of Motor…

Added by Scott Habeeb on October 22, 2010 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Do they know if they know?

Here's a quick and easy way to analyze how well you are applying AFL principles in your classroom:

If a parent were to ask his or her child how they were doing in your class, could the child give an accurate, detailed, and specific answer about his or her progress?

If you are regularly providing descriptive feedback to students then they should be able to tell their parents not only if they are doing well or not, but also what their…

Added by Scott Habeeb on October 13, 2010 at 2:52pm — No Comments

An Assessment Becomes a Learning Tool

Today I had the privilege of observing a Salem High School Algebra 1 Part 1 class being taught by Jennifer Shannon. I watched a teacher very intentionally make sure that her classroom assessment - in this case the test she had given the previous day - was used as a LEARNING TOOL instead of simply a GRADING TOOL.

Essentially Mrs. Shannon allowed…

Added by Scott Habeeb on October 8, 2010 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

Practical Examples of AFL to Try in Your Classroom

The Assessment Network has grown to the point where that it now contains many different examples of how the power of assessment can be maximized in the classroom. These ideas are scattered throughout the site. To make this site easier to navigate, this one blog will include links to all of the other classroom AFL examples. It's sort of like an AFL Wal-Mart - everything you need in one blog!


Please note that while these blog posts are grouped by content area, the vast…

Added by Scott Habeeb on October 1, 2010 at 2:30pm — No Comments

An everyday activity can become an AFL tool - (Ancient World History)

Assessment FOR Learning reaches its most effective level when students are able to use assessment feedback to guide their own learning. Many activities that teachers are already using in their classrooms have great potential for this type of use. What makes the difference in the "AFL-ishness" of an activity is often not as much the activity itself as it is the way the teacher communicates its purpose to the students.…


Added by Scott Habeeb on September 24, 2010 at 2:00pm — No Comments

SHS's AFL Journey

The City of Salem Schools just wrapped up its 2010 Summer Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy consisted of teachers, counselors, and administrators from throughout the division. The purpose was to plan for the upcoming year in a unified manner and to help the division cast a big picture vision.

AFL was one of the major topics of the 2 day academy. Salem High School had a chance to share with the rest of the schools about its "AFL Journey". This journey included the…

Added by Scott Habeeb on August 12, 2010 at 4:00pm — 3 Comments

A School Counselor uses AFL

One of the tricks of staff development is finding ways to apply ideas/strategies/concepts to the many different departments and content areas that make up a school. That's one of the goals of this Ning - to document ways to use AFL in many different settings. For example, there has been a PE example, a World Language example that… Continue

Added by Scott Habeeb on May 18, 2010 at 9:00am — No Comments

An AFL Email to Parents and Students

I recently received this email from one of my daughter's teachers. I thought it was worth sharing for a few reasons. It is an excellent example of:

1. Productive/proactive communication between the school and the home.
2. A teacher educating students and parents about the reasons behind classroom decisions.
3. A teacher training her students to use AFL strategies to take ownership of their academic progress.
4. A teacher realizing…

Added by Scott Habeeb on May 1, 2010 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Assessment FOR Learning + Enthusiasm = Powerful Instruction

What a privilege it is to be able to observe great educators practicing their craft!

Recently I had a chance to be in the classroom of Michelle Kovac, Salem High School's Marketing teacher. She was teaching Advanced Marketing. Two things stood out to me.

1. Mrs. Kovac did an excellent job of weaving AFL strategies and techniques into her classroom.

2. The…

Added by Scott Habeeb on April 23, 2010 at 11:33am — 2 Comments

Confusion over Formative Assessment

Salem High School Earth Science teacher, Wes Lester, recently sent me this link to a post on Edutopia about Formative Assessment (AFL). I found it to be an excellent post and worth reading, so I left a comment stating this.… Continue

Added by Scott Habeeb on April 13, 2010 at 10:30am — 3 Comments

Assessment FOR Learning - Don't confuse it for a specific strategy

When faced with a new concept it is natural and necessary to attach meaning to that concept. Sometimes when we find an understandable example of that concept we begin to confuse that idea for the concept itself. As Salem High School and the City of Salem Schools strive to master the concepts of Assessment FOR Learning, it is understandable that this will happen to some degree.

For example,…

Added by Scott Habeeb on March 23, 2010 at 4:27pm — No Comments

Why is Allen Iverson on Assessment FOR Learning?

Members of this network may have noticed a video that seems out of place on an educational social network. The video is of a post-game interview with NBA player Allen Iverson. Why in the world is that on here?

Salem High School teachers on this Ning know the answer to that. When our school first started taking a serious look at AFL, we realized right away that how you chose to grade assessments could negate the learning that they… Continue

Added by Scott Habeeb on March 1, 2010 at 10:30pm — 2 Comments

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