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  • Katrien Vance

    July 7, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    I am really excited about assessment by learning goal.  I have already created a table for my first unit, just to get it clear in my mind.  As you know, I am a huge proponent of assessment for learning not labeling; I don’t have to give grades at my school, so all of my assessments are for information, to help me know what’s being understood and what isn’t.  By keeping this detailed record, I’ll be able to give much better feedback to the students and parents.  Thank you!

  • Serina Signorello

    December 30, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    The idea of cumulative assessments, although daunting because it is so new, definitely makes sense especially when students need to be prepared to assess on all the topics at the end of the year. I am working on the “timeliness” of returning my assessments, but feel fewer questions will definitely aid in that process. Does this mean removing all end of unit assessments or just to also include topics from earlier in the year? I feel this may make the assessment too long.

    As much as I like the ideas from this video, I feel some of them are going to take me time to wrap my head around them. For example #3, our policy in my district was that the students could reassess one assessment in a marking period. Students completing quiz corrections, me grading to see if they understand and reteaching during study halls and after school, creating new review questions, and new quiz questions and grading them takes up a large amount of time. Do conversations with the student count as reassessing?

    In Strategy 4 you discuss standards based learning, I’ve never done this before and I was overwhelmed when I tried to wrap my head around it. I believe this may take a while to figure out. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get started? When giving a test on the standards used in a previous quiz, do you enter an entire new grade with the same standard or do you adjust that mark based on the new assessment? If so, do you ever go down a mark if it seems they are totally confused still?

    I’ve started implementing smaller, more frequent assessments and cumulative assessments, however my district requires review guides in IEPs and my supervisor feels you should always let the students know what to expect on their assessments. My review day’s have just become practice and learning material days.

    This year has been particularly difficult in implementing new things since my students are relearning how to be students. Just the idea of studying for an assessment seems foreign to them and they are used to taking tests and quizzes online with the internet and photomath, they are disappointed every time I inform them their quiz is on paper.

    • Jon

      January 4, 2022 at 6:23 am

      @Serina You were not alone in these concerns. That’s exactly why we built another course on Assessment: Assessment For Growth. We address many of your concerns and more in that course. Have a peek:

      • Serina Signorello

        January 4, 2022 at 8:20 am

        Thank you I will definitely check it out!

  • Rachael Young

    January 20, 2022 at 12:12 am

    While I found some of these affirming of my current practice and aligning well with the guidelines and pedagogies within which I have to work, others were definitely more of a challenge and some I can’t see getting past my teaching team and Head of Maths, at least not in the short term.

    #1 – Not possible within current structure. We currently teach in units / chapters and do not revisit unless the concept is related to a later concept (eg fractions → probability). We also do not report on specific learning goals/ concepts within the Australian Curriculum – as an independent IB World School we are not required to and I have been instructed to remove the specific learning goals/ concepts with my “Got it / getting there/ not yet” columns from tests.

    #2 – We do try to do this as much as possible, but I hadn’t heard the suggestion by Wiliams to remove any grades from the feedback

    #3 – Currently some teachers allow more traditional retests but not under this model. We dont have a school wide policy on ‘resubs’ in the Middle School so it’s up to each teacher to decide their own policy. Something to think about.

    #4 – I have certainly kept ‘running records’ of individual learning goals/ concepts in the past but as previously said we don’t report on these. We report/ assess each unit, which includes a number of learning goals.

    #5 – I think this is the one I want to explore most as I don’t do enough of it at the moment but it will challenge my own lack of Maths knowledge/ ability to be able to try to get the best out of and move forward every student!

    #6 – I feel like our current tests and assessments are too big! Definitely worth thinking about.

    #7 – We don’t do any kind of ‘final’ report cards because we use ‘continuous reporting’ – every time a teacher gives written assessment the parents can see it straight away. It is still only the ‘bigger’ and ‘important’ summative assessments that get recorded though.

    #8 – I’m nt sure what this means but it seems to conflict with points I already made about the way we ‘chunk’ concepts and units

    #9 – This is a BIG challenge – we do use practice tests, ‘cheat sheets’ etc and we feel we are doing the students a favour by doing so! This needs a lot of thinking about

    #10 – We do TRY to do this but when you only pay the idea lip service rather than a major pedagogical change students know it!

    • Kyle Pearce

      January 22, 2022 at 7:30 am

      So happy to read these reflections and while I know that often times protocols/rules/logistics that are beyond your control can be limiting factors. However, getting the conversation started with colleagues can certainly bring about a change of mindset and therefore a change in assessment and evaluation policy at the classroom level, then the school level and finally at the district and beyond level!

  • Jonathan Lind

    April 5, 2022 at 1:50 am

    Trust between students and teachers is super important, and I’m glad you mentioned it here. A lot of students come to my class pretty damaged by their earlier experiences, so it often takes awhile to get them to believe that we all want the same thing: them to understand math better!

    Re-addressing informally is great, but there’s a bit culture of “that’s not fair” at my current school. I feel like if I tried this, I would get complaints that all students didn’t receive exactly the same opportunities or problems as each other. Maybe I just need to do it and deal with whatever happens.

    • Kyle Pearce

      April 8, 2022 at 6:44 am

      You’re so right that some will bring up the “fair” discussion. I always ask “is it fair that some students are breakfast and others didn’t? That some have two caring, supportive parents at home and others don’t? That some have big houses and others rent poorly maintained properties? That some students pick up on the math the first time and others have to spend hours longer to comprehend?”

      Some will need time and some conversation to realize that the world isn’t equal – and what isn’t fair is the fact that we are so rigid in our ways.

  • Katrina van Lierop

    April 7, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    #1 – Thankyou so much for the idea of getting students to talk me through their incorrect responses on an assessment. I was stressing about how many “retest” questions I was going to have to create and where I was going to find the time. Putting the responsibility on their shoulders is great. However, it is constantly a problem to get students to come in on their own time…

    #2 – I never thought about seeing the grade affecting the effectiveness of descriptive feed back. This one I will definitely try. I assume I still record a level of understanding in my books.

    4 – Assessing by learning strand is something I’ve been doing more of lately. It sure make reporting back to parent easier as I can look back and see exactly where a student is succeeding and struggling.

    5 – I know Kyle described having a spreadsheet open in class so he could record things on teh fly…I find this incredibly difficult to manage, I can barely get my attendance done on time lol. I would love to get there some day though

    6, 8,9 – Through the pandemic I have switched to test day Fridays. It was a great way to wrap things up before the class I was seeing left for a whole week. I didn’t have to worry about brain drain. I have continued that now that we are back to a more normal semester, I love the way I don’t need to take a review day, and the students have their weekends free. It also makes for a shorter assessment to mark. One thing I will add is a question or 2 from prior learning…

    10 – Assessment for learning, that is going to take a hge cultural shift for me as a teacher and the students. I think eliminating grades will help. I may give this a try for teh rest of this semester.

  • Dawn Oliver

    April 15, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    I am not sure how my district uses assessments to evaluate students for the regular school day. I am lucky to have the option to choose how to assess my students for credit recovery. Recently I have been teaching a topic 1 to 2 days, and then they have a short assessment. I would then have a short final assessment at the end of a unit. I may try using the standards based grading this quarter or next year. I have used some standards based grading in the past, and like it for the most part. I like that the students can retake or reassess just a part of a quiz or standard instead of retaking the entire test. I also like how standards based grading can show a growth perspective to students. I am not sure if I agree on the eliminating reviews or study guides. I feel as a student, when I would create my own study guide or cheat sheet it helped me immensely. Although, I was definitely a test crammer, but not for math. It is hard to cram for a math test. You really just need to practice each kind of problem or concept. I think giving Cumulative Tests would cause even more cramming unless you were given the opportunity to master standards you failed previously. I think review days could be eliminated by doing multiple representations of the content or giving an assessment that covers many concepts in like a small number of problems. I agree with shorter more frequent assessments with less concepts is the best practice. I try to be thoughtful about grading comments to help students learn from their mistakes. I also give them feedback, without out a grade to promote more learning.

    • Kyle Pearce

      April 19, 2022 at 6:42 am

      Great take aways here. Glad to hear that you are thinking about how standards based grading might work for your groups. As for reviews / cheat sheets, your point is valid. For us, we believe that everyday is a “review” for assessment and evaluation. Sometimes it is just shifting the mindset for how you assess that is most important.

  • Monica Horn

    April 18, 2022 at 10:32 am

    A lot of this makes sense and would be exciting to try, but is overwhelming. I struggle with the Time factor to revamp everything. I am in a small district with only 2 teachers per grade level. At 3rd grade we teach all subjects so I cannot focus on one subject. We need to stay on the same pace for Title One services with the other section. My teaching colleague has established firm boundaries about her time and okay is good enough. This does give me food for thought though about where I can begin to make small changes.

    • Kyle Pearce

      April 19, 2022 at 6:44 am

      The key is starting somewhere and applying the elements. You don’t have to recreate everything to get positive effects. What might you put in place that doesn’t require significant time or effort?

  • Amy Mathewson

    April 21, 2022 at 10:23 am

    I am in a district that requires us to give prewritten quizzes and end of unit tests within a certain testing window. How do you recommend that I be more effective with assessments within these parameters?

  • Zorica Lloyd

    April 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

    I tend to do #1-3 and #5 pretty regularly. #5 especially let’s me understand what students know, but can’t yet communicate concisely. For this reflection, i’ll focus on #8 & #9. I often dislike cumulative assessments because I find that we often give them without having taught students in a way that would allow them to remember previous material. We often teach a unit, test, then not mention the content. And at the end of the year or semester or year ask students to take a test that includes material we haven’t referenced in months. But, if spiraling, then cumulative tests are an excellent idea and allows students remain accountable for everything they’ve learned throughout the year, while also showing them that math topics don’t have to be taught as silos.

    This also eliminates the need for study guides and review days. If we are constantly seeking to deepen understanding rather than just memorize, then we don’t need one off tools.

    • Kyle Pearce

      April 22, 2022 at 6:51 am

      Great reflections here and I like your plan to focus on how spiralling can help with retention!

  • Lizann “Lizzie” Herrera

    April 24, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    I want to say THANK YOU! Yes!!! All these are great strategies, not only for math, but for all assessments in the classroom. I will be sharing these with the Learning and Instruction department in our district with hopes to include them in our teacher trainings and embed them as common practices in the district.

  • Stephanie Pritchett

    May 28, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    Great lesson. These are my take aways:

    #1- I tend to give this idea lip service. I teach resource special education math. Unfortunately many of my students are just happy if they get a passing grade. Most students if I offer help or opportunities to relearn or improve, they’ll say “I’m good.” If they do come to learn it is often to bring up their grade. I guess I need to get away from the “grade” even though that is the measurement in our district and lean more into what learning did you do.

    #2 I have provided descriptive feedback and it is typically with the grade. I believe it is right that there are no gains when there is a great unless the student cares about improving the grade. One year I just wrote the feedback and I’d tell mastery level was on our grading tool. The feedback didn’t seem to give them an action step. I like having a specific action step for the students. I’m interested more on how this is done and how to follow up on that?

    #3 I do allow my students to re-address learning goals, usually at our intervention time or before or after school. Has anyone found ways during school or class for students to readdress goals? In the past retakes have been corrections on missed problems on tests. What are some ideas of how to help students who struggle with concepts, but don’t have the drive to ask questions or come in and get help? Many of my students don’t understand and need help to understand the material and we do that orally, if I see improvement in understanding orally I will change the previous “grade” or level of understanding.

    #4/ #6 I want to do better and break down tests to standards. I have been giving unit tests with too much material. I think have frequent shorter tests are a great idea, especially for my students with IEP’s, it’s like progress monitoring.

    #5 I do this somewhat, but I think I would like to have a spreadsheet that I can add to. Question is how to add it to a formal grading system when the same assignment or grade should be given to everyone? More ideas on how this is implemented would be helpful.

    #7 I am guilty of this. I think weekly shorter tests are the answer to this one. This seems like it make take more time to create, though this would really be the only thing to asses or put in the gradebook each week?

    #8 Such a fan of this of course. But the time to implement and create things is the concern.

    #9 I have done reviews in the past, and they seem affective for just a few students. I also think study notes are not helpful because students are trying to bring back things they don’t really understand. I think formulas would be good to provide in situations, so they don’t have to memorize, but focus on how its used.

    #10 Need to improve in this area. Any words, phrases and actions you use to emphasis this throughout the year?

  • Terry Hill

    June 3, 2022 at 10:27 pm

    1. I am going to have to work on this and see if I can figure out a way to do this.

    2. I am not good at this, as it is hard to find the time to give proper feedback for each student. I do try to do this, and do a lot of this verbally when I see a student making simple mistakes.

    3. I do give students multiple opportunities to show their learning, however it is usually only done by students who are trying to go from a “B” to an “A.”

    4. Just curious, would you set a learning goal for each topic? Each unit?

    5. I do this quite a bit. I really enjoy talking with the students and seeing their eyes light up when they realize how close they were to getting something.

    6. I try to give weekly assessments, but it doesn’t always work out. Also, are there times when you might give two assessments in one week?

    7. I like this idea, as I really love to see student growth, even if it does not mean they are making good grades. I probably need to figure out a way to include growth more in their overall grade, but I must admit it is hard to give a kid who is showing great growth but is still way behind, a good grade.

    8. I have tried this in the past, but it seemed like it caused grades to go even lower than normal. Perhaps I need to try to stick with it a little longer so that students will see that they are responsible for things we have already covered.

    9. I love this, and I have pretty much stopped doing review days. My school “strongly suggests” giving study guides for semester exams, but this year my study guide was simply a list of things they needed to know, without any examples. Almost like the study guides I received way back yonder when, as the teacher would simply tell us what chapters the semester exam would cover.

    10. I think this will take time to convince the students that this is what is actually happening.

    Also, I was wondering if you can share your learning goal spreadsheet?

  • Renee Holmquist

    June 22, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    #1 – I do quizzes, partner quizzes, and tests throughout a chapter so that students get multiple points of feedback. I do need to switch up the tests to be cumulative though.

    #2 – On quizzes I purposely do NOT give feedback because I want the students to have the opportunity to find their errors when they do corrections. I will have a conversation with students if they are unable to correct the problem. The quiz becomes more of a “finding the errors” practice after I grade it. For tests, I need to give more descriptive feedback!

    #3 – I do corrections on quizzes and retakes on tests that are under 80%. This follows my department but maybe we should be allowing students to go passed that 80% mark if we want to push their learning forward.

    #4 – We had partial standard based grading going at my school but with Covid it got left behind. I need to work with my PLC to bring back the concept and mold our assessments to follow it.

    #5- I find this one the most challenging because I have 30-36 students in a Geometry class for 50 minutes a day. I do all I can to walk around and listen to conversations but it doesn’t seem possible to give conversation based retakes, even if they are 5 minutes, to every student that wants it. I am going to have to talk with my colleagues in this class and see what we can come up with!

    #6- I am all on board for this! Like you said grading long tests is not fun so smaller chunks make it more manageable. I do wonder, do you use multiple choice problems at all? With all the multiple choice testing they have to do for State test and National tests (ACT/SAT), is it beneficial to give them the opportunity to practice with that type of question?

    #7- Our gradebook does not set us up for observation grades very well! I have no problem reporting on progress even if a unit hasn’t been completed though.

    #8- This is an easy change for me and one that I think will be super beneficial for all the levels I teach!

    #9- I am GUILTY of these days. By eliminating these I now have more time to spend on activities and making math moments which will balance out my anxiety of “covering everything.”

    #10 – I do try to do this already and tell students that the test is easier than the practice they have been doing. It is a chance to show me what we have been doing. Not all buy in but I am trying.