When students receive a “C” on an assignment and then an “B” on the next, they know that their grade went up but they do not usually know why. And they probably do not know what new skill or strategy they need to move up to an “A”.
An alternative approach is to use a learning goal based checklist so that students can see the subgoals that they have mastered as a concrete measure of their success. Likewise, they see the subgoals that they have yet to master.
For example, in English, a rubric can be turned into a checklist such as this one for an introductory paragraph
___ Has an attention getter such as a quotation, question, startling statistic, or an anecdote
___ Bridges to the thesis (Makes a connection between the “bigger” attention getter down to the level of the thesis)
___ States the thesis (For a contrast paper, includes the two items to be contrasted and uses a contrast word or phrase)
The teacher marks each item with a plus (proficient) or a minus (working on). Students can easily see what they have been successful on and what they need to improve. Students or peers can assess each others’ work with these easily defined assessment items.
My new book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.