Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reflections on SBG Year One

As my school year is drawing to a close, I am in a reflective mood.  I am looking back at the year and taking stock of what has gone well and what hasn't. For the most part, I am pleased with how Standards Based Grading (SBG or SBAR - Standards Based Assessment and Reporting for the uninitiated) is going.

Positives:
I find the grading process to be less tedious and students' grades reflect their level of understanding much better than in previous years.

My grades are not over-inflated by the homework points (or deflated by the lack of homework points).

Negatives:
Midterm exam grades, mainly in my Algebra 2 class, were significantly lower than in past years. We are coming up on final exams (June 6-8) and although I have been doing daily feedback problems in Algebra 2 to keep them working on problems daily, I am not certain how they will do on finals. This group is hard to read at times.

My top kids seem to be point-grabbing instead of trying to really learn the material. It's so hard to break them of that when in every other class, that's essentially what's going on.

Many students don't tend to do the assigned problems because they aren't being graded. If they don't practice the problems, they don't do as well on the assessment. This is really showing up at this point since it is May and they really don't feel like doing school work. Even when given class time to work on problems, they won't do them.

Changes I am pondering:
I pretty much kept my tests at the same intervals - at the end of a unit, if you will. Most tests covered 5-6 skills. I did have tests that covered as many as 8 skills. 8 skills is too many. I am considering going to a system similar to what I have read in Kate Nowak's and Dan Meyer's blogs where they assess twice and mark if the student has mastered the skill after 2 perfect assessments. I know in the long run that will mean more assessing and I will have to re-think how I structure my class. At present, I review (usually 2 days ) at the end of each unit, then give the assessment. I'm not completely sure how things will get restructured - you cannot continually review and assess, for I'd spend a lot of time doing that, but this is something I will have to ponder deeply this summer.

I am also considering giving a larger, summative type assessment every 6 weeks or so. Students just don't seem to be prepared to deal with this kind of assessment. Again, not sure if I'm going to do this, but I am going to look at it.

I am also going to have to look at restructing my class. What I am not doing isn't working. I've mentioned this before as I've reflected in the last month or so (yes, there are 3 links in there) and this will be a major focus for me this summer.

I definitely will be doing a lot of reading this summer from the Twitterblogosphere to help in this as well as tapping the wonderful resources that the Math Twitter community has - and I am really looking forward to becoming a better teacher!

1 comment:

martinandersongraham said...

So I just wanted to let you know that if I write a post about my reflections on SBG year one, it would be almost exactly the same! No lie, almost every bit - more accurate grades, one class that I struggled to get working, plans for next year.

I'm guessing you agree with me too that I could never go back, but am going to be thinking hard this summer about addressing the issues. Thanks for the post!