Posted in going gradeless, individualized learning, mini conferences, self-paced learning, student engagement, student-led assessment, Teaching

I cannonballed in! Aaaaaah! #IMMOOC

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So here is the text of the email I just composed and hit send to my principal:

Since this summer I have been learning about how to do assessment differently. I have read the book: by Starr Sackstein and have subscribed to the author’s Youtube channel (Watch her TEDxYouth talk here: https://youtu.be/_61kL5jeKqM ) with her video reflections about implementing a classroom without traditional points or letter grades for her assignments.

Obviously, she had to enter letter grades at the grading periods but she was given permission by her principal to use a coding system in a standards based grade book (Like JUMPROPE) for the assignments rather than points and percentages and she conferenced constantly with students with helpful feedback like the SE2R explained here: http://www.brilliant-insane.com/2014/04/se2r-feedback-forever-changes-how-teachers-students-evaluate-learning.html

One of the keys to a successful student-centered, Results Only Learning Environment is the use of narrative feedback over grades. Although feedback isn’t …

She used projects with clear guidelines aligned with the standards they had to focus on and she interspersed mini lessons and discussions for concepts that needed to get demonstrated in the project. She conferenced on a weekly schedule about the learning, and sent them back to re-do and improve until the grading period came. By the end of the year she had students talking about their learning and not the points they had earned.

There is research to support the idea that when students receive a grade, they tend to shelve the learning and stop wanting to improve anything on that one thing https://medium.com/@hhschiaravalli/how-one-weird-finding-changed-my-perspective-on-grades-914f0ea480a9).

medium.com
How One Weird Finding Changed My Perspective on Grades Now that I know, there’s no going back

At the grading period she would give the students a reflection assignment in which they had to provide evidence of their learning according to the standards they had been working on and together they decided on the grade that they should have recorded in the grade book. All of this is also supported by the characteristics of growth mindset as well.

Here is a podcast with Mark Barnes speaking on his book Assessment 3.0 (which I have yet to get and read myself). He is speaking with the hosts of the podcast, a superintendent and his assistant from Pennsylvania.

http://www.tltalkradio.org/season-2-episode-12-assessment-3-0-interview-with-mark-barnes-podcast/

Each episode we leave you with a couple of questions to think about…with the idea of provoking conversation. This episode’s question: Ask us a question or suggest …

And this is a TEDtalk by Mark Barnes explaining more about giving feedback instead of grades:  https://youtu.be/JShsO5PvYG4

I would very much like to embark on this journey of downplaying grades and up-playing enjoyment of and awareness of learning to reduce the number of D’s and F’s in my DL classes. If you give me the go-ahead, I will be making a series of YouTube videos myself to document what I am doing, keeping data, and teaching students about how to take and give feedback. I will make my experience public to share with the parents and kids.
Let me know what you think and if you are ok with this, I will make a more deliberate, detailed plan of what I will do.
Thanks,

Mrs./Maestra Espinoza

South Meadows Middle School

Dual Language Science teacher

Room 118

503-844-1220 ext. 5878

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