The Assessment Network

Sharing assessment & grading strategies that help students learn

If you've read much on this Assessment FOR Learning site you're aware of the 4 components of The Heart of AFL.  One of those key components is that students will use feedback to guide their own learning on both a short- and long-term basis.  

This concept often causes educators to roll their eyes as they think to themselves, "No student of mine ever asked for feedback to guide his learning!"  It often seems like students either don't care about their learning or only care about it to the extent that they collect enough points to receive a high grade.  

If we're not satisfied with this - if we want students to take ownership of their learning instead of being disengaged or only care about point accumulation - then we need to provide them the tools they need to reach a higher level.  One of the reasons this entire site exists is to provide teachers with the assessment tools they AND their students need to learn - and learning is what WE care about much more than points and grades.

Recently, David Wallace, an art teacher at Salem High School, shared with me this tool he has created to help his students take ownership of their learning.  He calls this specific tool a Project Report.  (A copy of the Project Report can be found by clicking on the words "Project Report" or by scrolling to the bottom of this post.)  He has slightly different yet similar tools for different purposes, but the goal is always the same.  Students in his class are trained to assess how much they know before doing something and then trained compare that to how much they know after completion of the project.  Furthermore, they are trained to assess the results of their work.  With a tool like this, students can better determine what they need to do in order to improve.

Notice how I keep using the word "train"?  This is exactly what a great teacher does.  Students rarely enter the room with all the tools they need for success.  It is our job as educators to train them.  Training must be specific and include how to use the tools they need.  Simply telling students they ought to keep up with their progress is not enough.  We must give them the tools to do so, train them to use the tools, and then require that they do so.

Mr. Wallace's Project Report was obviously designed for an Art classroom, but I bet you can figure out how to apply a tool like this to whatever content area or grade level you teach.  Got any ideas?

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