Assess Your Assessments

Assess Your Assessments matrix by Grant Wiggins
audit-matrix-for-assessments

Questions about the matrix
does ‘support your answer’ always fall into ‘far transfer’?
what does near and far transfer mean?
what mode of assessment works best for middle school students?
can a selected response go beyond recall and inference?
what do you fill into the empty boxes? just a check mark or a score?
how does a teacher include a variety of each format? throughout the year?
i wonder if gold standard pbl checks all of the boxes.
i wonder what an ill-structured problem looks like.
can assessments overlap in categories?

Ideas
mini and informal assessments are under-utilized
i see the need for a variety of assessments
making a product leads to ‘far transfer’
we cannot teach apart from context
i think i can combine several types of responses into one test
i think teachers need great intuition, awareness, and training to select appropriate assessments for different tasks

10 Ways e-Portfolios Increase Learning

9 Ways e-Portfolios Increase Learning10 Ways e-Portfolios Increase Learning

In schools, the use of e-portfolios is increasing as a way to enable learning, as well as a means to measure it. See Admissions Revolution (80 colleges and universities move towards use of online portfolios). There are a variety of types and purposes of e-portfolios including workspace, showcase, academic, employment, etc. This post focuses primarily on the blog as student workspace – designed as a tool to accelerate learning at any age, as well as to build capacity for being globally competitive beyond schooling. How might e-portfolios increase learning?

1) Writing – Does the importance of writing need to be explained or defended? It’s connection and value to learning is self-evident. Blogs and online journals (via e-portfolios) are a fantastic platform for encouraging and facilitating writing for learners. Whether one is expressing ideas, posing questions, or making arguments, here are more than a dozen reasons why writing is vitally important to learning.

2) Storytelling – More than just a mode of writing, storytelling precedes writing in the history of humanity. Storytelling is a powerful connector of people. Oral stories and parables are incredibly effective modes of communicating very complex ideas in a form that is accessible to the common learner. Today, exciting possibilities exist with digital storytelling, while the classic archetypes of storytelling remain as relevant as ever. Let’s teach both to our students!

9 Ways e-Portfolios Increase Learning 3) Meta-cognition – It goes by many names. Thinking about thinking. Reflecting on learning. Self-regulation. The monitoring and control of thought. The gift that keeps giving. Despite its importance in the learning process, it is not well practiced in today’s classrooms. How can e-portfolios be used to build these muscles? Teachers can supply prompts for reflection. Students can capture their reflections in writing, in voice memo, on video, on podcast, through art, etc. All of these are ripe candidates for e-portfolio demonstrations. See these K-8 meta-cognitive strategies.

The ability to learn is not a fixed quantity (read Dweck’s ‘Mindset’). Members of our team have modeled meta-cognition through the reconfiguring of physical space, as well as the emotional environment as key elements of teaching and learning.

If we are to teach students that a growth mindset is not only possible, but desirable, then we must first embody and exemplify a growth mindset as educators. If we expect students to reflect and curate their learning, should we not also be practitioners ourselves? This is why the blog you are now reading exists.

4) Multi-media Technology – We often read about the mistakes educators make when using (or not using) technology. With e-portfolios, there is an opportunity for students (and teachers) to learn a variety of valuable skills including embedding presentations, video creation, graphic creation, font and style choice, podcasts, stop-motion video, voice memos, google hangouts – with screen capture, 3D printing, etc. What specific technologies should students be learning in schools? Why do these technologies need to be learned? How frequently does this list change as technology advances? Is it a futile effort and is time wasted learning technologies that will be obsolete in a few years? Is it more about the mindsets that are required and developed by the pursuit of learning new technologies?

5) Feedback – Here is a skill that was not formally taught when I was in school. And what a mistake it is that we don’t teach how to give and receive feedback intentionally! I highly recommend ‘Thanks for the Feedback’ for anyone interested in learning about the 3 types of feedback and how every human needs them, yet they are often as cross-purposes. With e-portfolios, students can receive feedback on their demonstrations of learning from teachers, peers, parents, and external experts. Students can learn how to deliver feedback by providing it to one another in the form of comments, uploaded directly to the e-portfolio.

9 Ways e-Portfolios Increase Learning 6) Assessment of Learning – If your goal is to expand the ways in which you measure student learning beyond numerical, quantitative grades, you should take a good, long look at e-portfolios. They provide a qualitative, longitudinal measure. Students can post a writing sample from September next to one written in November and we should be able to visibly see the progression of learning. If we don’t, then the measure is still helpful because it tells us where the student stands in relation to learning outcomes. E-portfolios can be the perfect platform for displaying digital badges earned for demonstrating specific knowledge, skills, or transfer of skills. Badging is yet another fantastic measure of learning that can accomplish the same, if not much more, than a numerical grade.

7) Choice & Ownership – When designed properly, students can pursue their own topics of interest and curiosity through e-portfolios. They can share their learning with others. E-portfolios allow students a much greater audience for their learning which in turn generates a stronger sense of ownership and urgency. We all want to ‘be seen’ – acknowledged and appreciated by others. Students should have the freedom to add their own demonstrations, in addition to being assigned demonstrations by teachers. It is not an ‘either or’ proposition. Students should ‘have permission’ to customize the look of their e-portfolios and include demos that may not be related to school.

8) Digital Citizenship – As the author of one’s own blog, website, or e-portfolio, students learn the importance of ethical decision making and wise choices. See the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship as food for thought.

9) Graphic Organizer(s) – There is no shortage of graphic organizers available online. Can teachers use e-portfolio assignments as advance organizers? How might this increase the mastery and measurement of specific learning outcomes in a school? How might graphic organizers be used with e-portfolios to introduce new concepts? Or to formatively assess student learning via entry, transfer, and exit tickets?

9 Ways e-Portfolios Increase Learning10) Communications/Branding – At least one school I know has explicitly written into their mission statement the goal to prepare students to be globally competitive and engaged citizen leaders, though I assume a lot of schools would say they aspire to do the same. In the age of the internet and marketing, being savvy with one’s web presence, branding, and social media strategy seems like an important set of skills to begin ‘baking in’ early in our students formal educational journey. Experience curating one’s own e-portfolio can position students much further along than their global competitors. Conversely, it can leave them at a great disadvantage if these skills and mindsets are missing.

What other ways do you see e-portfolios can increase learning?

For more on e-portfolios, read these posts and resources.

Building Our Learning Measures

PL

Building Our Learning Measures
This morning, our monthly vertical team meeting focused on building our capacity with two of our ‘expanded learning measures’ – formative assessment and e-portfolios. Here is the agenda with some data added…

Essential Questions
What are the limitations of numerical grades as a single measure of learning?
How will we develop our understanding of e-portfolios as an effective measure ‘for’ and ‘of’ learning?

Desired Outcomes
Vertical Teams collaborate to implement formative assessment and e-portfolios.

Learning Opportunities
In advance, read Edutopia article: 11 Essentials for Excellent Eportfolios

    • Entry Ticket: Upon arrival, write on 3 separate post-it notes…
      • 1 idea this article sparked
      • 1 question this article sparked
      • the # of e-portfolio demonstrations you have currently assigned to your class

  • Create an entry ticket with your vertical team, using your learning outcome process standards, that you all agree to use for formative assessment in the next few weeks, that students will upload to their e-portfolios.
  • Share out your ticket with the whole team. Receive feedback. Iterate to improve.

Vertical Team Guiding Questions

How can you formatively assess one of these process standards as a vertical team?

How can students demonstrate their learning of one of these process standards? And make their thinking visible via e-portfolio?

How can we help students build the muscles of reflecting on their learning?

PL Team=============

Teacher Reflection on Understanding and Implementation of student e-portfolios

Backward-looking
What problems have you encountered while implementing e-portfolios with students? How did you solve them?

Does student’s work tell a story?

Inward-looking
What do the demonstrations of learning that students post in their e-portfolios reveal about what they are learning in your class?

Outward-looking
If someone else were looking at the demonstrations that students post in their e-portfolios, what might they learn about the design of your class?

Forward-looking
What things you might want more help with?

What’s the one thing that you have seen in your colleague’s work or process that you would like to try related to e-portfolios?

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Post-it Note Results…

Questions
Why?
HMW entice students to see e-portfolios as ‘theirs’ rather than something the Ts want them to do?
What’s a simple and effective way for me to promote and support e-portfolios with student buy-in?
How do we continue to empower students to want to curate their e-portfolios?
Why/how do we spark interest?
How to get students/teachers to care about e-portfolios?
How effective are e-portfolios in increasing learning? (I loved this question so much I wrote a response!)
What is our e-portfolio purpose?
What is our purpose?

How?
How do we help students preserve portfolios for future endeavors?
Will e-portfolios be out-of-date tomorrow? (technology changes so rapidly)
If they lose their ’email’ account at the end of high school, does it have longevity?
Do students know how this will be used?
How might I use two different approaches to e-portfolios over the next 9 weeks?
QR Code – love it! Wonder how to use?
Clarify positivist/constructivist approach?
Need to focus e-portfolios to ensure demonstration of learning (learning outcomes)
Timeline?
How do we get videos in to make it easy?
Have we learned to add video? Who will help us?
Are we using the positivist or constructivist approach?

Ideas
e-portfolios can be used for a short-term learning project
projects on e-portfolios
I would love to make my 2nd semester project tie directly to e-portfolio
design students demos to really showcase a learning progression throughout the year
HMW ensure that e-portfolio updates are relevant to demonstration of learning (learning outcomes)?
the portfolio for learning, as learning
Enhance student meta-cognition, reflection, ownership
I would like to ‘practice’ demos in advisory
I can meet with 1 kid per day in advisory on e-portfolios, match with goals (for SLC)
Student Blog: maybe have students start a blog instead of their journal I have them do? They could keep a blog and blog every week about topics of interest.
Check out One Note and other resources
Instead of weekly journaling, students can add to One Note or Evernote – culmination activity is uploading unit post-its up with a reflection
Students can keep a hard copy of all work done in a 9 week period. At the end of the period, upload 2 pieces of work that were significant. This gives students more time to reflect and choose two of their best pieces.
Students write class blog and link e-portfolios there? Allow a specific timeline to post.
Still love video aspect, but it’s too hard to upload
Our NPS is good with timeline (?)
Use as a student website/blog
We should publish to parents.
Digital Media = blog? Do we want to use e-portfolios like this?

1 Demo – 6
2 Demos – 9
3 Demos – 2
5 Demos – 1

What are your questions about e-portfolios and formative assessment? What are your ideas? Please share with us!

Formative Assessment Tickets

Formative Assessment via Entry, Transfer, and Exit Tickets

Formative Assessment = a range of formal and informal assessment procedures conducted by teachers during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student attainment.

This morning’s faculty meeting was a lesson in formative assessment. We started the meeting with an entry ticket – a Poll Everywhere survey (thank you Alex Bragg!) about our team’s wildly important goal of ‘expanding the learning measures.’

The original agenda for the meeting was sent to faculty in advance indicating the bulk of the time would be spent on teachers earning badges. After assessing the faculty, the decision was made during the process – to modify the teaching and learning, based on their feedback. We shifted to spending more time talking about examples of implementing entry tickets as formative assessment.

Entry Ticket as Formative AssessmentEntry Ticket as Formative Assessment

Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment

Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment

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Faculty Meeting Agenda

Essential Questions:
How skilled are we at designing and delivering formative assessments?
How are we advancing our wildly important goal: expand the learning measures?

Desired Outcomes:
Teachers are given time to earn badges discuss entry tickets as formative assessment
Formative assessment is modeled through entry ticket
Teachers are challenged to try an entry ticket and share results
Conference Mentors discover the next steps for SLCs

Learning Opportunities: (– min)

  1. Cast the Characters (Group Work Norms) (5 min)
  2. Entry Ticket via Poll Everywhere – Badging (5 min)
  3. Give Badge Time (20 min)Discuss entry tickets as a method of formative assessment (not as a sponge activity)
  4. Intro Formative Assessment Tickets (Entry, Transfer, Exit) (5 min)
  5. Share SLC phase 3 & checklist  (5 min)
  6. Amy & Chrissy – Badges! (5 min)

We started the meeting by ‘Casting the Characters’ using our team’s group work norms…

  • Time keeper
  • Encourager
  • Note taking (focus on questions asked)
  • Meta-congater (reflect on the overall flow and engagement of the meeting)

Group Work Norms

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We ended the meeting by issuing a call to action Challenge…

Challenge: Utilize an entry ticket for formative assessment and be prepared to share out at October 22 faculty meeting.

Remember, it’s only formative if you use it to modify teaching and learning during the process. Otherwise, it’s just a sponge activity.

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And also by recognizing teachers who have earned badges…
badg=======================

View all of the entry ticket survey results here…Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment
Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment Entry Ticket as Formative Assessment

 

 

9 Tips for Grading

The discussion and debate between numerical grades and standards based grading has been on the minds of our team a lot recently. As we look for new ways to expand the learning measures beyond the single gauge of traditional grades, we aren’t throwing traditional grades out. So, it follows that we should examine some tips, issues, and best practices related to traditional grades, as long as they are still in use…

Here are 9 TIPS FOR GRADING we explore in a pre-planning session today…

Expanding the Learning Measures

dashboard2

How might we expand the ways we monitor student progress and the measures of learning beyond quantitative, numerical systems that are not always reliable?

Since May, eight dedicated educators have engaged in four summer grant opportunities to accelerate the work of our entire team, all with the purpose of expanding our ability to measure and monitor student progress and learning.

While our Middle School continues to use a quantitative, numerical grading scale (0-100), we have been working to add additional, qualitative gauges to our dashboard, with the purposes of greater student engagement and ownership, and making learning visible.

The (XLR8) summer grants include:

  • Assessment – Not only a summer grant, but also a school-wide focus for the upcoming year, assessment is a powerful tool in the professional educator’s design kit. This grant will survey the research and narrow the focus into practical applications for teachers. Formative and summative, constructed and selected response, assessment for and of learning, authentic and real-world vs traditional; all of these topics will be explored and expanded.
  • ePortfolios – An ePortfolio is a collection of examples of a learner’s work which may be used for evaluation, information, and celebration. It is a visible record of learning including reflections which provide a representation of student achievement and a set of targets the School wishes to communicate. It includes two sections: the collection and the showcase. The showcase is used to display the best work, like a published collection of a writer’s best work, yet it often includes pieces in it that have been revised or show growth over time.
  • Student Led Conferences – Middle School students will lead two conferences with teachers and parents in 2015-2016 (one Fall, one Spring). The conferences will give meaning to ePortfolios, as well as focus on the quality of work, reflection, and organization skills. Benefits of SLCs include more involved parents, increased student motivation and ownership of learning, meeting standards/learning outcomes, and celebrating each student’s unique passions and interests. The goal of this grant is to research, develop, and communicate the best strategies for implementing student led conferences in Middle School.
  • Badging – A badge is a validated display of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be earned in any learning environment. Badges can represent traditional academic achievement or the acquisition of skills such as collaboration, teamwork, leadership, and other skills. They can be earned by people of all ages, from kindergartners on up, and they can make any notable accomplishments visible to anyone and everyone, including potential employers, teachers, and peer communities. In addition to finding new ways to engage and motivate students, the goal of this grant is to iterate and develop not only a suite of actual badges and criteria, but also a system for how they are issued and displayed, ultimately, in coordination with MVIFI.

 

 

How Do You Measure Learning?

Attempting to accurately measure one’s learning seems simple enough, but can actually be a rather elusive pursuit. How often do we challenge assumptions about our own experience and mental model of progress monitoring and report cards?

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Spend a few minutes challenging some of your basic assumptions about how we measure learning with these 6 familiar questions. They reveal some limitations to our current approaches and help to widen our options for innovation.
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Why do we measure learning?

A Brief History of the Report Card