I often tell my students that there is no such thing as a finish line to reading, writing or learning…there’s just no end. That, of course, is a choice, as people can choose to not read and write. But I always hope to continue to model the concept of life-long learning to my students.
Teaching is an art; there’s always room to learn new ideas, to listen for the whispered voice that lies beneath the din.
This past school year (’17-’18), my reading focus (call it my self-directed professional development) was centered, mainly, on assessment. I read these articles, abstracts, blog posts, etc., in my continuing attempt to learn more about the art of teaching:
Grading: Why You Should Trust Your Judgement (T. Guskey & L.A. Jung. Also highly recommend Guskey’s “Computerized Gradebooks and the Myth of Objectivity”)
A Case for Standards-Based Grading and Reporting (K. O’Connor)
Five Obstacles to Grading Reform (T. Guskey)
What teachers really need to know about formative assessment (L. Greenstein)
It’s time to stop averaging grades (R. Wormeli)
What’s worth fighting against in grading? (D. Reeves, L.A. Jung, K. O’Connor)
Assessment for Learning Defined (R. Stiggins)
Using student involved classroom assessment to close achievement gaps (R. Stiggins, J. Chappuis)
What a difference a word makes [Assessment FOR learning rather than assessment OF learning) (R. Stiggins, J. Chappuis)
How making thinking visible helps teachers and students (A. November)
Helping students understand assessment (J. Chappuis)
How Am I Doing? (J. Chappuis)
Should Formative Assessments Be Graded? (L. Heitin)
The Value of Using Podcasts in Class (M. Godsey)
The Case Against the Zero – (D. Reeves)
The Case Against Percentage Grades – (T. Guskey)
What Did I Learn?
- I still have more to learn in terms of assessing students in an accurate and equitable way. I don’t think that there’s a finish line in figuring out ways to help students improve
- There’s a lot to proper assessment design and education has a ways to go to be more accurate. There’s much hand-wringing (that’s warranted) surrounding issues of cheating that could be improved by better systems of assessment.
- Assessments can be designed in a way to help reduce the concept that school is just about students “trying to get points.” (This is a major hurdle to clear). Teachers need to be talking to each other about what they can do to continue to create learning environments which encourage thinking and learning while countering the “gamification” of school. I’m all for learning “hacks,” but if the hack involves shortcuts that cut out learning, then educators need to create better/more authentic assessments
- Going against the grain isn’t easy. “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”~Friedrich Nietzsche. Moving away from tradition methods of grading and assessment design gets a lot of people nervous as it’s not what they are used to. There’s a lot of “this is how we’ve always done it” in education and there’s a lot of ideas in education that deserve scrutiny.
Where to Go From Here?
Continue to learn and and apply: my students today are not the same ones as I taught 5 years ago.
Reflect more. This is a major gap in my learning journey.
Write more: see above.
(No pithy aphorism to end this blog.)