Soft edges in assessment can nurture student growth.

Soft Edges and Why We Need Them

Categories: Assessment

When you think about it, our education systems are incredible things. Consider it: we place groups of our most important citizens (children and youth) in rooms for hours at a time with adults who truly want to support them and who are charged with developing their potential; showing them not only who they can be, but ensuring they believe in themselves and their ability to get there successfully. Read more

Examining grading systems for common assessment is like peeling into an onion.

Starting the Conversation: What’s in a Grade?

Categories: Assessment, Mathematics

Perhaps your team is working to minimize the percentage of students earning a D or F in your mathematics course or grade level.  Upon analyzing the data, it suddenly becomes clear that teachers on the collaborative team are not all calculating the student grades the same way, or even scoring assessments consistently.  Suddenly, proficiency and intervention are all in flux until this issue can be resolved.  Students proficient in one class would not be identified as such in another and it becomes clear that expectations differ by teacher, even when teaching the same course or grade level. Read more

How can we extend and enrich learning?

That Pesky Fourth PLC Question

Categories: Assessment, Authors, PLC, RTI

There are four questions that drive the conversations of members of collaborative planning teams have as part of their Professional Learning Communities.  These questions are (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2010):

  1. What is it we want our students to learn?
  2. How will we know if each student has learned it?
  3. How will we respond when some students do not learn it?
  4. How can we extend and enrich the learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency? (p. 119)

For the past several decades, schools have focused on these questions to impact students’ learning. Well, really, teams have more likely focused on the first three questions.  Read more

You'll only be able to "get it right the first time" if you use a shovel.

Do You Want to Dig a Ditch or Build a Bridge? Your Grading System Will Answer The Question

Categories: Assessment

I recently received a question from a teacher who was concerned that her colleagues, who were opposed to changes in grading systems, insisted that in the real world, it was essential to get things right the first time.  Therefore, her colleagues claimed, the average, along with draconian punishments for failures, were appropriate grading policies.
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