Archive for the 'Accountability' Category

Digital Badges: Naming the Badge

Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally” as the badge name? Will they use an abbreviated word name such as “eval media”? Or will the teachers use a number code such as SL2 or SL2media? Teachers may enter the full badge name in a badge program but how long will the actual name be when displayed on the screen with other badge names? For example, if a badge program lists all the badge names going across the screen, then each badge name may only show the first seven characters. Are the students familar enough with the abbreviated standard or proficiency name that they recognize it and know what it means when they see it? If the students cannot recognize the name of the badge learning, then the badge program is not effective for them.

Each badge name needs to be unique. If more than one standard or proficiency addresses the same or very similar topic, then the badge names have to distinguish between the two. In the NCSSFL-ACTFL (Modern Language) proficiencies, a Novice Low proficiency states “I can introduce myself to someone. I can tell someone my name.” while a Novice Mid proficiency states “I can introduce myself and provide some basic personal information.” Teachers will name each badge so that the difference is obvious to the students

What digital badge names will you use?

Digital Badges: Better Than Grades?

Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter grade does not mean the same thing among grade level teachers. Does an “A” in Mrs. Brown’s 7th grade English class in Roxo Middle School equal an “A” in Mr. Cooper’s 7th grade English class in the same school? (tuttle, https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com/2007/02/09/classroom-grades-dont-reflect-student-learning/)

The final grade in a course or even a ten week grade probably does not reflect the actual academic learning.These grades may not reflect the academic standards (Common Core, standards or proficiencies) for that course.

Badges allow teachers to focus specifically on student standards or proficiencies. A writing teacher may want badges to represent the various phases in the writing process. For example, a teacher might award an “idea generation” badge that indicates that the students can use at least two different brainstorming techniques to generate ideas for their writing. An “organizer” badge reflects that the students can use a graphic organizer or chart to plan out their writing. A “topic sentence” badge indicates that the student can consistently (three body paragraphs in the same essay) use topic sentences that introduce the purpose of the paragraph. An “Introductory paragraph” badge will demonstrate that the student can successfully write an introductory paragraph for two essays. A “revision” badge can show that the students can improve their writing by revising their own writing based on their own analysis and  incorporating the formative comments of teachers or peers.

These writing badges represent specific writing proficiencies. Most students in their writing career have probably just obtained a letter gade on their writing which does not identify their strengthens. They probably have not received an overall writing grade. Their teachers may not have indicated the students’ growth over time in writing. However, badges quickly identify the students’ writing proficiencies and to-be-developed proficiencies.

Do you use grades or badges to measure your students’ progress on the standards or proficiencies?

Three books of interest:

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment
English Common Core Mobile Activities ebook
Formative Assessment: Responding to your Students

 

Show Administrators Good Learning, Not Mobile Learning, to Convince them of Mobile Learning

Some administrators still prohibit cell phones and other mobile devices  in the classroom.  They do not change their  minds when their teachers send them articles about the benefits of mobile learning; in fact, they may not even have time to read the articles.  Often when a teacher approaches the administrators with a statement like “Mobile learning is great”, they turn a deaf ear.  They are not interested in technology per se.

These administrators focus on student improvement.  However, when a teacher says, “I want to show you how much more students have gained in their learning since the beginning of the year”, the administrators become interested.   For example, Miss Thorp  shows her  administrator, Mr. Verona, how students have grown in their learning on a major subject area goal.  She demonstrates the low starting scores on math word problems and their now high scores. She does not talk about  or show mobile learning.  Once Mr. Verona acknowledges the students’ major learning   improvements, then she shows that students used  mobile learning to work on grocery store word math problems with students in other states and tells how important the mobile learning was to the learning.  Mr. Verona  now realizes that mobile learning  can be a valuable tool  in the math class.

How do you show your administrator improved student learning as a result of mobile learning?

My three formative assessment books, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students,  Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

I have developed 25  Spanish activities  and 4 Modern Language Visual activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Mobile Learning and Assessment

Can use a wide variety of mobile devices and of mobile apps for capturing student learning, analyzing it, providing feedback, and recognizing learning success.

Identify the specific learning goal

Have QR codes for exemplars that students can refer to anytime during the learning process

Pre-assess with mobile device: Need data to go to one location for analysis

Monitor and collect student data: Transform non-data activities such as texting into data ones. Constant monitoring of students. Daily/weekly review of data. Mobile device  spreadsheet of students’ scores

Use formative assessment: In-class performance tasks and short quizzes

Provide feedback: QR code to New strategy to overcome learning gap; Differentiate in strategies

Peer assess: While doing task on app or after learning task

Self assess: See progress and evaluate how to become better

Use Eportfolio: Wiki Edmodo ….

Celebrate successful learning

Other resources:

Search my education and technology blog bit.ly/hgtblog (Am on EdTech’s “The Honor Roll: 50 Must-Read K–12 Education IT Blogs”).

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, and Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

What is the Role of Technology in the Teaching-Learning process?

A very creative elementary teacher will retire in June because she no longer feels she can teach due to her district’s technology push.  Her district purchased a math online program in which the computer program presents the math concept and  the program has students do stations for a designated amount of time each day. Her job is to make sure that the students rotate through the stations.

Another teacher no longer has time to relate his subject area to the real world because he has to push through his textbook so students can do the  designated  and scheduled online drill and practice for each unit. The district looks at the student data from the online activities as an assessment measure.

A science teacher has to have her students do a specified number of app activities for each unit.  Although this teacher used to do many student inquiry labs, she has had to eliminate those labs in order to provide students time to  complete all the apps.

Finally, students in Carpe Diem schools spend half to  two thirds  of their day doing computer work. These students score well on state tests. (http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2011/04/22/carpe-diem-charter-school-seizes-tomorrows-innovations-today)

What is your view of the role of technology in the  teaching learning process?  Do teachers or technology determine how students spend their learning time? Who/What  makes decisions about what learning gap  students have and supplies a new strategy to overcome the gap?

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.  My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Problems with Institutional Assessment

Assessment dominates education from K-12 through college.   There are different types of assessment, formative (helps students improve) and summative (grading of students).  However, institutional assessment  involves the bigger picture of how an institution or a department is doing academically.

In institutional assessment, teachers enter data into a  mega-database. For example, teachers may enter their students’ grades  on each section of the final. Then someone, often a department head,  analyzes the overall results using the online data, to assess the student learning across specific courses and across the department.

Institutional assessment has some basic flows
1) Most institutions have not identified a specific  enough curriculum that can be assessed.  Many contain very general statements of learning.  For example, English might state that  students will write a well-written essay. Has the English department specified what constitutes a well-written essay?  Likewise, a Modern language department may have the curriculum statement  “The student should speak in sentences that have relatively simple structures and concrete vocabulary”.  What does “speak” mean?  Does it mean to be able to talk about one’s life, to hold a conversation. to repeat from memory?  When there are only general  learning statements, there cannot be any  meaningful assessment.

2) If departments have identified specific learning goals, what is the priority of those learning goals? For example, in English the purpose of writing is to communicate ideas or feelings.  Shouldn’t the organization of ideas be more important than the spelling?  Or does spelling/grammar have the same assessment weight as organization?  Likewise,  in  Modern Languages, are all skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) treated equally in assessment weighting even though both in class and in the real world, people listen and speak almost double the amount that they read and write?  Have the specific learning goals and their priority been communicated to the teachers/students through a department website/wiki?

3) The departments do not have exemplars that show the quality that they expect of students.  Does the English department share  electronically with all English teachers essays that show what constitutes a high level paper,  an acceptable paper, and a non-acceptable paper?  Again, are these exemplars on the department website for each course?  Does the Modern Language department share audio files of  a good ten sentence conversation through their website or an their department app?

4) They have vague assessment tools.  The English department has a generic rubric (has good organization,  conveys ideas, etc.) that can be interpreted differently by different people.   What type of essay will be the written? An autobiographical essay requires a very different approach than a contrast essay.  In Modern Languages, how will writing be assessed – holistically or analytically?  If different educators can come up with different scores for the same student, then the assessment tool does not accurately measure learning.  Teachers can receive a digital image of the rubric and work assessed using that rubric.   How well does the assessment tool match up with how the information was taught in class?  Is the assessment tool such as the final developed  at the  competency level or at the highly competent level?  Students may be competent but not highly competent

5) The departments do not do a thorough analysis to get at the root problem once they have discovered a gap.   If the students do not achieve well, was it due to the  students’ lack of effort, a misunderstanding of  how to answer the  assessment question, a specific word in the  assessment question,   the thinking level of the test question,    the structure of the assessment item,  the textbook, the textbook’s powerpoints,  the teacher’s explanation, the homework, or  the online work?  Usually much additional exploration is needed to determine the real reason for the gap. Once the  department identifies the gap, what  specific strategy will help the students over come this gap?  Will the department suggest  technology-based strategies that appeal to students such as Youtube videos, interactive websites,  interactive apps  and that help the students directly overcome the gap?

6) Most important of all, how does the institutional assessment help  students improve in the course right now?  Most institutions assess once a semester.  After the analysis, the department  focuses on  what changes will happen in the future year.  Unless regular assessment is done in small intervals  throughout the year and changes made almost instantly, then the assessment does not benefit  the present students.  Next year’s students may be very different than the students who took this assessment.  Classroom teachers need access to the online data and analysis so they can take class time to provide  the students new learning strategies.  Then, students can be successful learners!

How does your institution assess  student learning?

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Final In the Course What is it really?

We are within a few weeks of  finals.  Some good questions to ask are   What is a final?  What learning do we want the students to  show on the final?

A history teacher  tells his students that the final is on  Chapters 1-15 and all they have to do is know that information. Obviously, the students become overwhelmed because they do not know what is really important in the chapters.  They do not know the format of the final – multiple guess or essay writing? They have no idea of how to study for the final.

Teachers give paper and pencil finals, scantron finals or online computer scored.

Let’s look at some possible types of  written final (not project based):

Wikipedia  defines a final as a big unit test.  The final covers the same material that has been previously covered and in the same way but covers more of it in one exam.  An American History final is just  parts of previous tests;  instead of 50 questions, the students have 200 questions.

– Some teachers give a put-it-all-together test in which students have to integrate what they have learned during the course.  For example, an 8th grade  Science final involves students reading and critiquing an experiment on the health of a local stream.  They have covered everything previously in individual sections such as  the biological or physical aspects but they have not had to go to the big picture of the whole stream.

– Some teachers create a final that consists of  the final improvement on previous work.  For example, students have revised a Contrast essay previously in English class and they do a final revision as  their final.

– Some teaches create  a final that goes  far beyond what the students  have learned in class. The final  includes brand-new material such as many vocabulary words  the students have never seen and it may ask  them to do tasks that they have never done before in class. For example, in class students have only answered literal questions on  reading passages  but the final has mostly inference reading questions.   The final generally does not test the regular forms but focuses on all the irregular forms or exceptions.  Only the A+++ students might pass this final.

Some questions about a final:

Do the  students know what precise learning goals will be on the final? Do they know which learning goals are the most important for success in the final?
Do they know how these learning  goals  will be tested such as multiple guess or try to fill in the blank?
Does the final reflect the same level of learning as  done during the course?
Do the students have a sample final that mimics the final  both in content and format?  Do they have an online practice that explains the wrong answers?
Is the final an opportunity for the students to show how much they have learned?

What type final do you give?

I have 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook


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