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Academic Essays Are Worthless. If We Have to Give Kids Grades, Let’s Let Them Argue Their Merit. I sensed the anticipation as soon as I entered the classroom. Groups of students were huddled together flipping through notes and documentation. A few were going back and forth about what they were going to say. As I headed to the whiteboard a hush fell over the room and one student asked, “do we get the whole class period Mr. J?” It was first marking period Appeals Day in my ninth grade English class. And it was the first time my students had ever been told they were allowed to argue for their grades. The bell rang and I answered, “Yes, you get the whole class period. My View on Grades Changed As a new teacher, I was told time and time again not to give in to students who argued about grades. The reality is that many teachers still act like this. To me, we can treat assessments and grades in two different ways: If you treat grades like a salary, shouldn’t students be able to argue and fight for a better salary if they can prove they deserve it?

Appeals Day Overview: Expectations: Rules: 1. 2. Grades are for Onions, Beef, and Other Produce; Not Children. Pardon me whilst I muse a little, please… When I was 21, newly married, broke and not terribly interested in schooling (as yet), I took a job working for a packing shed that leased land and grew onions and other vegetables. My task, no experience needed, was to walk row upon row of harvested onions, counting burlap sacks filled with two, five-gallon buckets of onions. I have never in my life been so happy to be told, after a few days, that I would be moved from this task up to the “Onion Grader” (set aside that I thought at first it was an onion GRATER). This machine, I came to learn, had shade… In essence it was a tractor hauled machine that had perhaps a dozen of us standing around on both sides of it.

The purpose of this machine was to separate the onions by size (a type of grade) and fill market ready bags. The skilled workers in this crew were the women who could by touch assess the Colossal grade onions and put them into the proper bags. What alternative is there? Back to why… Focusing on Mastery Over Marks – George Couros – Medium. Avoiding Assessment Mistakes. Assessment is arguably the piece of the learning cycle we get most wrong. Whether looked at from the perspective of the learner, the teacher, the school administrator, the politician or the parent, assessment is misunderstood and poorly utilised as a tool for learning. The importance of changing this situation is only made more salient in light of the countless research studies from the likes of Jon Hattie & Dylan Wiliam that points to the power of effective assessment. So, what are the common mistakes and how might we avoid them? Effective assessment is a part of the learning process.

In their book "Mindful Assessment: The 6 essential fluencies of innovative learning”, Crockett & Churches compare assessment to the processes driving lean startups. The fledgling startup aims to develop a product that is a just viable product and rapidly releases this to market. Effective assessment is timely. Timely assessment needs to occur as close to the performance of understanding as possible. The History of the Pedometer (and the Problems with Learning Analytics) 9 min read These were my remarks as a guest speaker in Donna Murdoch's class “Online Teaching and Learning – Applying Adult Learning Principles” this evening. I was asked to speak about learning analytics, but like I said in my keynote last week at NMC, ed-tech is boring. So this is a talk about pedometers.

“Know thyself” – this is an ancient maxim, of course. But it’s become not so much a philosophy of introspection or reflection but a compulsion for data collection and data analysis. We now live in a culture of quantification. (We have for a while now, no doubt.) Learning analytics, in some ways, is a symptom of this data-driven culture – one that also is not new to education. I want to invoke the guest speaker’s privilege and talk about something slightly different than what I was asked to speak about: that is, learning analytics. I want to talk a little bit about fitness trackers this evening. Beware the marketing hype. Surprise, surprise. Are these examples of “learner data”? Assessment is not a spreadsheet, it’s a conversation. The words of the late Joe Bower, a teacher In December 2014 I had the privilege to be been invited to attend and give a talk at the UNESCO Chair in Education and Technology for Social Change hosted by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona.

It was a small group but the conversations were fascinating and the participants super engaging. It was here that I met Joe Bower, a teacher from Red Deer, Alberta in Canada. I first met him at the speakers dinner where he grabbed my hand by introduction and told me that he was the only teacher at the dinner. I want to remember Joe by offering you some of his words and to encourage you to listen to his talk. So here are just a few of the gems: “What do we say to kids, how do we work with them? Let’s dive into this. I don’t hate assessment, but I want to reclaim the language. Assessment has been bastardized into meaning measurement. Thinking about education from outside of the goldfish bowl What is it that we mean by assessment? On motivation. Should we do away with exams altogether? No, but we need to rethink their design and purpose.

In our five-part series, Making Sense of Exams, we’ll discuss the purpose of exams, whether they can be done online, overcoming exam anxiety, and effective revision techniques. Over the past two decades there have been frequent calls to abandon exams. The major criticisms of exams in schools and universities tend to relate to either the misuse or overuse of exams, and not to the sensible use of exams in partnership with other assessment tasks such as presentations, research reports, creative responses, essays, reflective journals etc. Rethinking the way in which some exams are delivered does not require us to abandon all exams in favour of other assessment tasks.

This is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Exams allow students to demonstrate their breadth of knowledge across a particular subject. Students also demonstrate their ability to retrieve and apply knowledge on the spot: a skill necessary in many professions. Myth 1: exams only test for the recall of facts. 3 Non-Negotiables When Teaching Students to Evaluate Their Own Learning. Learning with 'e's: 7 ways to assess without testing.

Learning with 'e's: 7 ways to assess without testing. Disrupt Assessment — Learning {Re}imagined. Disrupt Assessment It’s like the 21st century never happened Take a look at the image above. “The purpose of school is dictated by assessment methods”. This is clearly the wrong way around and yet this reality is beyond humour and sets a ticking time bomb for present and future generations in what will be their imperative to reimagine society to solve the challenges of their generation. Imagine, for a moment, if the sentence was “The assessment methods are dictated by the purpose of school”. The notion that the assessment tail wags the dog of learning seems so illogical and yet it drives the entire process of educating our children as they get processed through the conveyor belt of the school system. Work hard, get good grades, go to university, get a good job. We operate our schools as teacher-centred, subject knowledge focused systems and continually test around that.

I came upon this poster at a local school outside an examination room. So how did we get here? The Exam Sham: Onwards We Blindly Go. The Exam Sham: Onwards We Blindly Go The only way you can invent tomorrow is if you break out of the enclosure that the school system has provided for you by the exams written by people who are trained in another generation. — Neil deGrasse Tyson The Mind Boggles Many schools have just concluded, entered, or are about to enter examination season. A recent feature in The Atlantic presented a fascinating visual representation of exams around the world. The piece highlights the fact that, in a world enduring constant change and upheaval, “testing — from pre-exam anxiety to post-exam euphoria — is something that oddly enough, seems to unite us all.” Welcome to School Let’s go back to purpose here. If we could step outside of this charade, even briefly — one that every educator I work with passionately disagrees with — imagine, for a moment, describing the learning truth to a young person entering school: There’s 15 years of content ahead of you.

Isn’t it time to end this madness? Learning with 'e's: Tested to breaking point? 12 Awesome Formative Assessment Examples. Formative assessment tools used in the classroom provide critical feedback to teachers, helping them to monitor and modify their instruction methods and lesson plans. Teachers are better able to meet the unique needs of individual students, empowering them through personalized and timely feedback. It’s important to use a variety of teaching and learning formative assessments, changing them frequently to stimulate both students and teachers. Assessment techniques are only as limited as the teacher’s imagination! Here are 12 awesome formative assessment examples that we like. These ideas are very creative, low tech, fun and engaging for students, and easy for a teacher to implement right away. 1) Postcards From the Past Have students adopt the personality of a historical figure and write a postcard to another historical figure from the same era, discussing a significant event that has just occurred. 2) Collage or Poster 3) Journal 4) Doodle 5) Caption Photos 6) Metacognition Table 7) Four Corners.

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015: Standardized Testing. Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015: Standardized Testing This is the second in my series The Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015 Standardized testing has a long history in the United States. But it’s become closely associated with — inseparable from, dare I say — school reform and accountability measures in recent decades, thanks in no small part to President George W. Bush’s signature piece of education legislation, No Child Left Behind. As I noted in the previous post in this series, “The Politics of Education Technology,” Congress has made a concerted effort this year to try to update NCLB, the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Standardized testing has a long history that connects it to education technology too. Recommended reading on the history and (perhaps) the future of testing: Anya Kamenetz’s 2015 book The Test. The Common Core State Standards One of the (many) major conflicts in US education policy revolves around the role the federal government can play. Cheating. 33 Digital Tools for Advancing Formative Assessment in the Classroom. I came across a great blog post the other day – Formative Assessments Are Easier Than You Think – that told the firsthand account of a teacher, Steven Anderson, who implemented formative assessment in his classroom.

He used a sticky-note version of an exit ticket to elicit evidence of student learning and in his words, “what a difference that made.” Formative assessment is ‘easier than you think’ and with all the digital tools and apps now available for mobile devices it’s even easier. We’ve shared some digital tools before and with the five tools that Steven shared combined with our earlier suggestions there are now 33 digital tools that we’ve uncovered that are free or inexpensive and help teachers implement formative assessment in their classrooms. Here they are: A few of Steven’s discoveries: Lino – A virtual corkboard of sticky-notes so students can provide questions or comments on their learning. Poll Everywhere – Teachers can create a feedback poll or ask questions. Pick Me! Let’s Talk about the Learning ….. not the grading — The Synapse. Let’s Talk about the Learning ….. not the grading Toss the grades. Get rid of grades. Learners don’t need grades.

Throw out grades. Over the past few weeks these statements have flittered across my twitter feed. Many teachers I know are shifting and changing how assessment is done in their classroom. Fixing Grading Ten years ago now, the school division I was working in began to move away from letter, percentage and other similar forms of grading in K — 8. Along the way, some teachers resisted, arguing that grades provided rigour and zeroes were a necessary as an incentive for students who didn’t hand in work. Resistance Is Futile Over time, those teachers who were resistant began to make changes to their assessment practices by changing their teaching practices and adopting such practices as peer feedback, self & peer assessment, formative assessment, and continuous feedback.

As a teacher, I have given very few tests over the past 15 years. The Future Has Arrived Reward Risk-taking Not Failure. 14 Reasons You Can't Throw Out Grades and One Reason You Must. Brace yourself. This is a rant. I’m angry. I’ve got a blog. You are here–at least for a moment. So, I’m going to vent a little. But we’re friends, right? However, if you read this post’s title and came looking for a soft touch to validate you for clutching some conservative teaching method, you might want to tune into Rush Limbaugh, because there won’t be any conservative education here. Deep breath. Oh, no, that’s not it. I want teachers to throw out grades. So, what am I upset about?

Every day, it’s more excuses for not changing how we assess learning. You can’t throw out grades. 14 Reasons You Can’t Throw Out Traditional Grades 1 – My principal won’t let me Seriously? 2 – My kids have to pass the test Standardized testing has absolutely nothing to do with grades. 3 – We still have report cards And I still have a pencil, but I don’t write my blog in a spiral notebook. 4 – Parents need to know how their children are progressing Great! 5 – My students want grades Wonderful. Why? Good! I know. Assessment in the Modern Classroom: Part Two- Taxonomy of a Skype Conversation. This is Part Two of Assessment in the Modern Classroom.

Read Part One here. Assessing students’ writing, thinking level , understanding, learning connections via a Twitter stream, did not end the assessment upgrade for this particular learning opportunity. During the same Skype call, we paid special attention to how students interacted with their conversation partner (Mike in this case) . We were watching their body language, paying attention to their vocabulary, ability to articulate an idea, their conversation etiquette and ability to follow a conversation and interaction.

If working (and communicating beyond face to face interaction) on a global team is/will be a crucial skill for our students to posses, how can we assess the skills, support, coach and guide students? I am looking for ways to UPGRADE & REPLACE traditional assessment forms. Heidi Hayes Jacobs suggests in her book Curriculum21 to use an upgrade model which Download the Taxonomy of a Skype Conversation as a pdf file. Related. 10 Formative Assessments Tech Tools to Put to the Test in 2015 | edutechchick. Students require constant feedback in order to be actively engaged and strive towards growth while learning new concepts. Technology, as an instructional tool, can be especially powerful when used to conduct formative assessments.

Why? Because technology has the ability to provide feedback instantly. Feedback must be timely, personalized, and specific in order for it to truly transform our classrooms. In this post, I would like to introduce you to 10 of my favorite formative assessments tools you can easily try in your classroom next year. The first set focuses on instant feedback tools. The second, encourages students to create a product as a way to formatively assess their knowledge. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. I hope that you will give some of these powerful tech tools a try to make formative assessments easy in your classroom this year. Like this: Like Loading... Related.