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Posts Tagged ‘formative assessments’

If you have read earlier posts, you will see that I have planned to completely restructure my grading this year. It has gone through many edits so far and will most likely continue to do so. I’m not even sure that I can actually give you a “summary” only because it will be changed and tweaked as the year goes on. Here is a brief synopsis of my latest “strategy”.

1) I have divided the fall semester into five “units” (note: I teach 8th grade physical science). Scientific Method, Energy, Dimensional Analysis, Motion and Optics. Each unit is weighted as a percentage of their overall grade. So in other words, rather than saying tests = 15%, I am now saying that Energy = 15%. Percentages approximately reflect the amount of time we spend on the unit/relevance of the unit.

2) For each unit, I have created a list of “objectives” or standards if you want. In other words, skills/content that I would expect my students to master by the end of the unit. I plan to give this to them when we start each unit, and explicitly explain in notes which objectives we are learning about.

3) Daily assessments will be given to students, but they will not count as grades. I will instead rank them (probably not ALL of them, but as many as I can) on a scale of 1-4, 4= master and 1= not yet. Those scores will be recorded, but will not be averaged into their grade. The purpose is to provide feedback to the students on where they are with the learning process. I plan to have them record this somewhere as well.

4) Summative assessments will be given in the forms of tests, projects, lab reports. I will score these according to standards and pass them back to students. If they do not earn the maximum number of points for a standard, they will have one more opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and earn those points back. I will still have to record the initial grade to show progress, but the additional work they do will be listed as “recovery” points. Students that score a 75 or below MUST complete recovery points but all students are allowed to if they want.

If I pretend that you are the student, I will tell you what I’ve told them: students will learn more and have better grades this year. Most of them seemed ok with that. I am still checking homework on a daily basis, but not recording the grade (they don’t know that yet). I have also shown them the distribution of percentages across the units, but that’s about it. If I start saying that “yes, you will have quizzes, but they don’t count”, I fear they will sit back and do nothing, so we’re not quite there yet. I’ll keep you posted!

Throw any hints or advice my way! Lord knows I’ll need it!

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