Standards-Based Grading: End Game

Thought I forgot about assessment, didn’t you? Ha! Never! My radio silence can be chalked up to my new project: Standards-Based Child Rearing. Not really, but I do spend a lot of time listening to cooing at 3 a.m.

We have entered the holiday break. This marks the beginning of the end game for my first semester classes. Yes, as some masochistic offering to the fickle scheduling gods, my high school school does not end our semester at winter break. Barf. What I get is about 2 weeks after the break to try and win the fight against ham and new video games for brain space. I usually win, but not after taking off a few toes.

"I can get you a toe by three o'clock. . ."

I’ve spent the entire semester having conversations with my students about grading, and why I have to grade the way I do. As the end of the semester approaches, I have to put my money where my mouth is. On the day before break I provided a Super Quiz. I wrote problems, situations, and investigation ideas on the board that the students would have 2 days to work on. Their job was to figure out which standard each prompt went with and then to choose the ones they needed to reassess on.

This agrees with my grading philosophy in the following ways:

  • Students are forced to think about what they need to work on or have worked on (Meta-cognition for you jargon junkies)
  • Students should be getting astronomically better at most things this far into the course. Assessment opportunities need to increase in order to get good data to cover up old data.
  • I wanted to be nice for once in my life.

This is my gift to them, because normally reassessment is totally governed by me. This is a giant shift in my implementation, because I used to let students come in whenever they wanted. This became unfeasible and, in some cases, counter-productive.

I had students working on a myriad of random problems, looking things up, dropping things down stairs, doing whatever they thought it would take to show me they’ve gained some new proficiencies. I couldn’t do this more than once a semester though, as it took me an entire prep preiod to think of prompts for every single standard in all of my classes. Maybe I should start writing them down.

Merry Christmas everybody! I hope you receive the gift of points-addiction anti-venom!