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.