Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Assessment Series: Part 1


After posting about my learning profile sheet (which was really just a procrastination tool as report cards need to be done!) I thought it might be interesting to do a series on assessment and my thoughts surrounding this topic... plus I received a bunch of comments and requests to see my learning profile.  I have been teaching for 8 (gasp!) years now and I must say that this is one area that I feel I have probably grown the most professionally. And, obviously, it's such an important topic!

This is the original profile sheet that I created back in September and have used through out first term. My former principal and a colleague and I had done some reading of Damian Cooper and his thoughts on assessment and I was interested in trying a learning profile sheet.

Here in Ontario our assessment is based on four categories that are found on the Achievement Charts in each curriculum document- Knowledge and Understanding, Thinking, Communication and Application.

Here is an example taken from the Language Arts curriculum.

If you are interested in seeing more of the Ontario curriculum it can be found here.

A few of my colleagues have been assessing their students by marking each of the achievement categories individually and I wanted to see how it would affect my own assessment practices. Many people I had talked to were mainly using this in math but I felt that I was going to try it I was going to go the whole way and use it with all the subjects I taught. Plus, when I explained it to my students and their parents it would make more sense if all their assessment pieces were graded using the same method.

Here is an example of how I would build a rubric for an assignment using the achievement categories. This particular rubric is for a measurement assignment where the students were given the task of designing a backyard using their knowledge of area and perimeter.

I have found that by assessing my students using the achievement categories that I really understood my students strengths and areas of need. For example, I have a student in my class who is very good in math and can do any kind of math computation but when it comes to explaining his understanding in his math journal he is usually lacking details and has difficulty using math terminology to explain his ideas. So by using the achievement categories I can now talk about this with his parents and him in order to help him improve. My grade book shows that he can achieve a Level 4 (A) in Knowledge and Understanding but  often earns a Level 2 (C) in Communication. Although it is a lot of work to put together my rubrics this way I honestly believe that my assessment is more valuable and data driven for my students and their parents.

So how does it all look on a learning profile? Well, instead of have a mark sheet per subject area with all of the students in my class on the sheet, each student now has their own profile. This way I can see the academic achievements of each student in a single glance. I can see if a student is struggling in more than one academic area, or in one achievement category. Like in the example of the boy who struggles to express himself in Math and has been receiving a low mark in he also receiving a low Communication mark in other subject areas? I have found that I know a lot more about my students academic progress my marking this way and am better prepared to speak to how they can improve!

But the big question I like the learning profile? In theory, YES!! In practice, no. That is, I do not like the one I created back in September... but that is my preference. Seeing as this post is already so long already I am going to leave this for another day.

In the meantime, check out my original learning profile and let me know what you think. I would love to hear any and all comments on assessment. Bring it on!!

Some things to think about:
1) Do you mark using the Achievement Categories (if you are in Ontario) or a similar system?
2) Do you think a learning profile would work for you?
3) What other assessment practices would you like to talk about?

5 Brilliant Teaching Thoughts:

Runde's Room said...

I don't use a learning profile yet ... but I really should. Assessment is something I've been wanting to revamp for a while (thinking about making it my summer project). I do make sure my assessments cover all the achievement categories, but I don't have them separated when I record their marks. (and I'm STILL procrastinating finishing my reports - due Friday ... I'm sensing an all-nighter in my near future).

Runde's Room

Unknown said...

This is a great share!
First Grade Blue Skies

Kimberley Moran said...

I struggle with having a learning profile for just myself or one the kids can access about themselves. Our district wants the kids more engaged in how they are learning and doing. Some teachers have binders that the kids go through to determine how they are doing and what to work on next. I like this idea, but wonder how it will really look. Thanks for sharing your thinking.

First in Maine

Anonymous said...

Great discussion...i have a question..i am teaching high school art..where would you put the course's learning expectations from the ministry's profile..

thanks for your time

Beth said...

Anonymous- I am not quite sure what you are asking about? The ministry expectations...on the learning profile or on a rubric??

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