Now it’s time to put my knowledge to good use! This week, I used the criteria from my rubric 3.0 to create my own formative assessment. I chose to create an assessment on linear functions because that is the gist of what algebra is all about, and if you get through Algebra without understanding the use of these functions, you’ve got another thing coming. I have always enjoyed getting to teach linear functions and helping students see the application of them beyond school. Here’s a link to my Formative Assessment, Take 1.
Sunday, October 8. 2017
This week we began learning about feedback and its effect on formative assessment. I have found it difficult to distinguish between creating a rubric for an assessment vs. creating a rubric for feedback and I have struggled with keeping the two separate. I welcome any and all feedback on this rubric, as we are inching towards turning it is as an assessment OF learning and I want to be sure my ideas are clearly and succinctly articulated.
You can find my Rubric 3.0 here.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
This week I was asked to apply the concepts I included in my Rubric 2.0, as well as principles of Understanding by Design (UbD) to review an assessment that is typical to my professional context.
The assessment I chose is the mid-module checkpoint quiz. Nearly every math teacher I know gives a quiz in the middle of the chapter, as a half-way point to the chapter test. Many times this quiz is a quick, multiple choice assessment because teachers want to know, quickly and easily, who does and doesn’t understand before moving onto the rest of the unit. In the virtual classroom, this MMCQ doesn’t have much impact on the lesson instruction that will come during the rest of the unit, but it does allow me to customize the tutoring that each student will receive as we troubleshoot where their thinking went awry if they’re having trouble performing well throughout the rest of the chapter.
Here’s my analysis; I welcome any and all feedback!
This week I was challenged to think more critically about developing my Rubric 2.0. I have to admit, it was tough to move beyond what I’ve always thought and really question why I do the things I do in regards to assessments. I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve come up with for this piece. I welcome feedback!
September 15, 2017
A quick note on why I chose this assignment: I originally had picked an end-of-module test to use for this activity. However, I teach for a virtual school and academic integrity is a huge focus for us. I did not want a PDF of the actual test floating around the internet (I’m sure it’s already out there, thanks to some tech-savvy students, but as the teacher, I could not, in good faith, post that to the open web).
This assessment is an open-ended assignment (teachers in a brick-and-mortar school would likely use this as a group classwork assignment) to gauge a student’s ability to identify the key aspects of linear functions and manipulate equations in meaningful ways. Students then are required to apply the equations to make assumptions about particular situations. They are essentially creating an algebraic representation of a real-life situation. The assessments that come before this one are multiple choice assessments, so the fact that this one is open-ended requires a higher level of mastery and effort than before. It is a good opportunity for a mid-module checkpoint to see if students are truly understanding the material or just breezing through the multiple choice parts. They are required to write in complete sentences and explain their thinking and processes.
Assumptions I have made about this assessment include:
- Students know how to show their work in a type-written format.
- Students know how to use computer software to create graphs of linear functions.
- Students understand the basic vocabulary in the assessment. (Isn’t this a valid assumption, though, since the purpose of the assessment is to determine if they do, truly, understand the vocabulary and terms?)
- Students understand the concept of “profit” as opposed to income/sale price.
- Students can follow a written list of directions that have multiple steps within each numbered segment.
- Students can interpret and apply the specifications of the included rubric to ensure they demonstrate each piece of the assignment.
The criteria for an effective assessments that I addressed in Rubric 1.0 include:
- Assessments must allow for frequent, timely feedback. Students receive immediate feedback on their multiple choice assignments. This one, being open ended, requires some time to grade, but all items submitted to my virtual classroom are required to be graded within 48 hours of submission. This ensures students still remember doing the assignment when they receive their grade. The fact that this assignment comes in the middle of the module rather than at the end (as in the case of a summative assessment) let’s students see if they truly have understood the material and provides them an opportunity to resubmit if they did not adequately complete each requirement.
- Assessments must avoid overemphasizing the grade, and instead focus on meaningful feedback. Every open-ended assignment requires informative, meaningful feedback for every student. I tell the student what he or she did well, tell them where they could improve, clear up any misconceptions they might have, offer my assistance if they aren’t understanding, and let them know that I appreciate their efforts on the assignment. Students are assigned a grade based on a rubric, but I hope that the feedback they’re given is more important to them than the grade. Students are given two additional opportunities to fix any inadequacies in order to earn more points. If I deem an assignment to be “failing,” as per the rubric, I assign a grade of 1% and require the student resubmit after receiving remediation and support. I don’t assign the “earned” grade, because then the student sees a 50% and thinks they only have to do a tiny bit more in order to “pass.” A score of 1% means the assignment was inadequate and did not meet the criteria. I would rather a student resubmit over and over again, taking constructive criticism each time and making edits, while having meaningful and supportive conversations with me, eventually resulting in a high grade, rather than assign a mediocre grade for mediocre work. I tell them that their grade is not the most important thing to me; their learning is, and their assignments should reflect that.
- Assessments must be ongoing and continuous.
This assessment, as I stated before, comes in the middle of the module and before any tests or quizzes. This lets me see which students are grasping the material and which students need additional supports before they get to the “real” and higher stakes assessments. Students should (hopefully) use the feedback I give them to help them understand the material more fully, and then use this information when moving on throughout the module.
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Throughout this first module, I have read several articles about assessments: how to improve them, some theories behind them, and the implications that they might have on various populations of students. My first task in CEP813 was to create the first draft, so to speak, of a Rubric that I will be able to use to determine whether an assessment can be deemed effective or not. All teachers should strive to use assessments that are as effective as possible; our time and students’ attention and effort are limited, so assessments should be our way of quickly and efficiently determining at what point a student is at regarding their process of mastering the material being presented. This google doc is my Rubric 1.0 that demonstrates my thinking about the criteria that make assessments effective. Rubric 1.0
Please view the document above for my final reflection paper. I tried to design it in a way that reflects my personality and preferences– clean lines, a bit traditional, creative twists on the unexpected, and bright colors. I hope you enjoy reading it! Thank you for everything you have done for us this semester; I will take significant portions of this class with me forward in not just school, but life as well.
Problem of Practice: TESTING PHASE
Context: Teachers lack the time in class to delve as deeply as they would like into subject matter. One solution to this problem is to transform the traditional “lecture at school, practice at home” into a “lecture at home, practice at school” style of Flipped Classroom.
Users: Current teachers who were interested in implementing the Flipped Classroom in their own courses. The teachers I sent my prototype to had various levels of knowledge regarding flipping.
Designing the Test: My goal from the get-go was to create a self-guided module for teachers to peruse on their own time. One of the parts about flipping that is stressed to students is to watch the videos/lectures when they are most focused. So often in a traditional classroom we ask students to attempt to understand new material when they may not be ready to think in such a way. With the Flipped model, they are encouraged to wait until they have as few distractions as possible and are ready to devote their time and attention to the material in front of them. My goal was the same with teachers and this module. Teachers have so much on their plate that I wanted them to choose the time that worked the best for THEM. That’s why I chose to make a website for the prototype. I used a Google Form for feedback so they could offer it immediately after viewing the module. I didn’t know ahead of time when the testers would be able to peruse the website and I wanted them to have an easy-to-access way to offer immediate feedback while it was fresh in their minds. I told them they could also call me and I would record our conversation or they could email/text me, but all three opted to just fill out the Google Form. The feedback form they used is embedded in my website.
What happened and what did I learn? I originally created a PowerPoint presentation for my prototype but overall wasn’t very happy with it… I just couldn’t seem to get it to match what I had in mind. I was planning to send it out anyways, until I got feedback on that phase and realized that I hadn’t created what I thought I had created (see the blog post here to read about that process!). I ended up totally changing my prototype to a website, which, thanks to Google Sites, was a lot easier to design according to what I had imagined. After making the website, I sent it to my friends and colleagues with the following message:
Good morning everyone! Here is the link to my website prototype. Please work your way through the tabs at the top of the page, reading, watching, clicking, and reading some more. The tab furthest to the right is a Google Form so you can offer feedback. If you’d prefer, you can also text/email me or give me a call and we can chat about it (I might record our conversation to include it in my course assignment, but I will let you know ahead of time!). Thank you so much for agreeing to help me with this project. Your feedback means so much to me!
My colleagues replied with their feedback and I was so grateful to them for taking the time to play around with my website. I learned that I need to give teachers PLENTY of time to complete yet another task. In the future I might try to meet them for coffee to discuss the prototype in person and offer an incentive (coffee on me and a visit with a friend!) in order to gently encourage them for more timely feedback. I also learned that technology evolves SO quickly. Programs and apps that I used just a few months ago to create flipped lessons for my classes are either no longer available or require subscriptions, so I had to adjust my plans for resources I would include and how I would create my own module.
Although this is late in coming and my first prototype was not the greatest, I feel good about what I accomplished during this final phase. I will definitely take what I learned from this semester long project and implement it in the future when designing course materials and products.