- Outside resistance
- Procedures vs. really important stuff
- Test security
- Students who are falling behind
- Assessment feedback
- Some just need a little push
Yesterday when I went to grade the day's tests, in the pile there was a test that I didn't remember handing out. It had neat creases in it as it had been folded into fourths, and I wondered if I gave that student the test on the previous day. Did he really take the test home to finish it and then hand it in today?!?! When I asked him if that was the case, he admitted to it. I gave him another version of the test to complete. It's now the end of the school day and guess what I noticed? Yes, he didn't hand the test in. He took it with him again.
I've started dating the tests in pen as I hand them out. Now I'll know if a student took a test home with them.
In some of my larger classes, students are taking tests right next to people who are working on other things. It's been challenging to notice who is taking a test and should not be talking or have their notes out vs. those who are not testing and should be collaborating and have their notes out. In these large classes I don't have the space to create a testing area. One solution is to print the tests on color paper to make it more noticeable.
Students who are Falling Behind:
There are some students who are not motivated enough for this program. They will do anything to avoid doing the work. I suppose that happens in any program. So I had this great idea (or so I thought). I created a google sheet where the students would type in their plan for the week. It worked great for the first few weeks. Can you figure out why? Because I was staying on top of the students. I was nagging them to type in their plan. And if they didn't, I went to them individually and then made them type it in. This was just another form of babying the students. And these same students would type in their plan and then not do it.
While I'm grading tests I will notice that a certain student has this misconception or that misconception. I write my comments on the test, file them away, and then they are never seen again. Hold on. That's not entirely true. If a students asks to see his test, we will go over his mistakes, I'll tell his what to work on, then I'll send him on his merry way. Effective right? Bah!
Some Just Need a Little Push:
I sat with a student yesterday as he was taking a test. His initial complaint was that he could correctly do all of the practice problems, but then he would fail the test. And he was right. I sat with him before and he did amazing, I gave the test and he failed. So this time I sat and watched. I noticed a little error in the beginning of the test and from there he was fine. Passed like a pro.
There's a Common Theme Here:
Do you see the common theme among many of these complaints? Assessments.
The other week my 4 year old son came home from pre-school with a DVD for us to watch. The director of the pre-school took each student one by one into a room, assessed the child on the recommended skills for Kindergarten, recorded each session, and sent the DVD home for the parents to watch with their child. As a parent I loved this. It made my child's education so transparent. I want to do this in my own classroom.
I've decided that I'm going to try assessment interviews with my students. I will still have the paper and pencil tests available, but volunteers can chose to take their test with me. This is how I see it in my head: The student and I are sitting at a table with an iPad and using the educreations app to record our session. I write a question on the iPad, then the student answers it in writing and verbally. During the recording I can tell the student where they need more work. I can redirect them and clear up misconceptions immediately. Students who are unable to prove that they possess all the skills necessary for that outcome can reassess. Once the recording is over, I can email it to the student and his parents. I can even post these recordings to my website. Students who are not yet on that outcome can see what the assessment is like and what it looks like to have those necessary skills.
Here is a skills sheet that I created for an outcome on Slope and Graphing with Slope-Intercept:
I'm trying to make a list of all the problems this will solve for me.
- Test security will no longer be an issue. Since I only teach Algebra 1, creating problems on the spot isn't that difficult.
- Those who just need a little push to be successful will have this.
- I'm wondering if this will help with some students who are falling behind. Will it create some pressure for them to be ready?
- Feedback will be immediate.
A list a new problems.
- I'm not sure I have enough time to interview every student on every outcome. I suppose that's where the paper and pencil versions will come in.
- I think educreations has limited space. I can't save recordings forever.