get your head out of the clouds, kid

For me, there is something about airplane passengerism that causes lofty ideas to bubble into my brain.  Recently I had the good fortune of visiting the largest of a certain isolated chain of volcanic islands and thus being afforded ample time for a bit of diary writing.  And this being the season of you-know-what, this is probably one of the last posts I can make before things start getting real.

SBG brainstorm time (to follow: my SBG handout, so stay tuned!)

1.  Grading policy to adapt, as discussed in the last post (yes, sorry, a full month ago).

  • 40% of grade: SBG quizzes and reassessments, compiled ultimately on a holistic basis of X many proficient scores, Y many basics… (clarification to follow).   A “Concept Checklist” is kept by the students in a folder that stays in class with all of their SBG assessments.  I will make all attempts to photocopy their work so they can take something home to study with.  Important: there is no mathematical averaging done here, no single number that is “their grade,” until I have to do that on a final report card.
  • 40% of grade: projects.  Everything will be rubric-ed in the “Consortium style,” with a familiar 4-level system. (The four levels of proficiency for project-based and SBG assessment are similar in language)
  • 20% of grade: everything else, kept-track-of but not converted into a system of points.  Plan: everything goes well with SBG and I can make this into an “exam” category for the second semester (I teach at a portfolio-based school, so omitting big exams will not be strange).

2. How SBG assessment is done.

Typically, we do quizzes on Fridays, and more often as necessary.  Skills will be assessed at least twice, and only the highest two grades will count.

After the second assessment, you may come in for individualized help and reassessment.  Each student can only do one concept per day maximum.  After school is the best time.  Other times by appointment.

There is no [other] limit to the number of reassessments you can do.

Nice picture time.  Oh, that’s supposed to say, “obliterated.”

Rough sketch of how the concept checklist can evolve. Note the obsolete use of a five point system.

3.  Associated routines.

Friday — the skill assessment.  Next class: enter scores into concept checklist. (take class time to do this!) At same time, schedule appointments and absentee plans.

After seeing all students updating their scores and settling administrata, we can launch into the next week.

Question: Why does all of this seem so easy? Simple? Unremarkable? I guess it’s because it seems like such a well-structured and — yes — simple way to track learning of discrete skills.  And because I’m sick of playing the futile points game and ready to figure out what they know.

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