A couple weeks ago we had our last assessment class, I know I should have blogged sooner but time got away from me and I didn’t really know what to write. However during my pre-internship I am learning about a couple of assessment practices that was mentioned in our final class.
At my school I am teaching Work Place and Apprenticeship 10 and they have a really unique set up for this class. This class is split up into the 7 chapters from the text book, each chapter each student gets a contract of what needs to be done. The first section, which is called the essentials, is a series of workbooks (4 or 5 usually) that have basic skills that the students need to know. After a workbook has been completed they get graded almost automatically and handed back if there is any mistakes. The students have to complete each book and correct their mistakes before they can move on. Once this has been completed the students are given a check in, which is 10 multiple choice questions, if the students get more than 7 right they get a 55% in this chapter. The students are than given the opportunity to complete extra work to get higher grades like a chapter test, a project and an application workbook which requires the students to think deeper.
This set up allows students to work at their own pace and helps students who may be struggling learn the basics. I really like this set up because not everyone is forced to write a test that is worth a huge chunk of their grade, there are many people who struggle with tests so this options allows them show their learning through a variety of ways. As well this gives students a ton of formative feedback, the workbooks are never corrected to give a grade but corrected to show the students what they did right and they need to work on. You can see if a majority of students are struggling with a specific question so than you can address that issue before it comes to the test (if they write it)
I have only been in the classroom for just over a week but I feel like I have learned so much about my own assessment philosophy. Re-looking at some of the papers we got on our last day this one quote really stuck out to me.
“When we give students the impression that we value the right answer more than critical thinking, we may drive them to take short cuts and cheat.” – Cris Tovani
This quote is so true, when we assign grades to assignment the student know longer care whether they actually learn anything but whether or not they were able to get a good enough grade. Moving away from giving grades and docking marks because of behaviours helps students realize that the importance is their own learning journey and whether or not they enjoyed it.