Thursday, September 27, 2012

Second Thoughts on Assessment

First off, I do want to apologize for the lack of posts. I have to be honest, I am still very overwhelmed, although I am now at least planning 2 to 3 days ahead rather than just for tomorrow. I still don't feel like I am in my groove yet.

In Algebra 2, I am getting ready to give my second assessment. Like last year, I am assessing each learning target twice. However, I am counting the first assessment and if the student has earned their 5 on the first time, they do not have to do the second assessment. I have been having second thoughts about this after I gave their first assessment two weeks ago. I know why I had decided to do this. I wanted students to give a better first effort on the assessment and when I didn't give a score on the first time, students tended to skip the problems. Also, this gives students their first chance at a reassessment. But, there are a couple of things causing me to have second thoughts.

First off, after the first assessment, I had several students already asking for a reassessment. I put them off, telling them they would have another chance at it in a couple of weeks. At that point, and now, still, I am thinking that I should have let them reassess right away if they were ready. Now that it's been about two weeks, I'm not sure they will do as well. Secondly, some students are now facing 6 skills to assess on this time around. I am starting to think that I may have set them up to not do as well because of that. Thirdly, we had professional development today and one of the speakers talked about Standards Based Grading. Well, she didn't call it SBG, but it's SBG. She was talking about using exit cards to assess where students where on a particular skill. Normally, you would use this for formative assessment, however, if all students showed they understood the skill, she suggested that you could go ahead and record that as mastery of the skills. The teacher would only do this if all students showed mastery. That got me thinking about giving assessments that only worked with a few skills. I asked her about how a teacher would justify assessing in this manner when at the college level, almost every class gives assessments at a much larger interval. Her response was to inform students that your concern was that they showed they learned and understood the material and that if they have done that successfully at high school, they would be able to adjust once they reached college.

Now, I don't think I am willing to assess formally that often, however, it is really getting me thinking about putting 6 learning targets on an assessment. I am seriously considering after this assessment to go ahead and go back to assessing 3-4 skills at a time and just assessing once. Thoughts from the peanut gallery? Leave them in the comments. Thanks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One thing that I worried about before I started SBG was that students wouldn't take the first time being assessed on a skill seriously. However, I have found that not to be true. I give a grade along with feedback when seeing a skill for the first time around. I put the grade in the online gradebook and it affects their grade for the time being. I think seeing their grade go up or down (even though they know it won't matter because I take the 2nd score no mater what) motivates them.

With your thoughts about letting them reassess after the 1st assessment, I wouldn't let them reassess either. If the next time the skill shows up is in 2 weeks, then that is fine. Part of SBG is that it reflects the students "current" understanding. I do the same thing when my students ask. I think it just motivates them to say "I didn't do so hot on skill 10, last time so I better look that over before the next assessment."

I also am still experimenting with how many skills I want to assess at a time. I have gone up to six and I think that is a max. I would like to keep it around 4, but I feel like I would be assessing all the time if I did that.