Next message: Meri Cummings: "[Teacher-talkinquiry] Checklists Help in Grading Process Skills"
Thanks to all of you who wrote me with suggestions for group grading of projects in a grade-obsessive district. It's nice to see that most of us seem to be in the same boat with regards to this issue, and that a lot of my fellow teachers have backed me up in my considerations.
I have another question for y'all now. I just watched the video on 'embedded assessment,' and think this is a great idea. One of my big concerns is that some of the kids I teach who really "get" science aren't good producers, in that they don't necessarily write well and thus don't get great grades on written projects and tests. Conversely, some of my kids are real "producers," who will produce a beautiful product when asked to write or produce a report, but who don't really show much true understanding of deeper science theory. I worry that I'm rewarding effort (which definitely has its place!) but not always rewarding deeper, higher-level understanding of concepts.
I'd love to try to use more informal embedded assessment (conversations, classroom observations) to somehow give credit to all the kids - producers or not - who show strong science thinking and problem-solving skills. My concern is how, in such a grade-sensitive district, to go about rating students on such informal observations. At some point, my observing that "Johnny really thinks outside the box and comes up with clever solutions for his group" has to be translated into a part of his calculated grade.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I'd love to hear them!
Forewarning: I've got 100 students in 5 classes; I'm never going to make videos or audio tapes of all of them. It would take me all year just to get to one class! :D
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