Posts Tagged 'Assessment'

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?

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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

 

Assessment and Mobile Learning Questions

Technology can play a critical role in the learning process.  Here are some questions about assessment and mobile learning to think about as you plan for your mobile learning.

Who/ What  will assess the students’ mobile learning?
A) the same mobile app that the student worked on
B) a  different mobile app
C)  the teacher corrects a paper and pencil quiz
D)  an online  program evaluates learning
E) the teacher assesses the students’ paper, presentation or project that incorporates learning from the mobile device
F) some one in the class, school,  or another school assesses the learning.
G) some one outside the school, from the community, an organization, etc. assesses the learning.
H) the students self-evaluate and reflect on how to improve

Will the assessment be?
A) summative ( a final grade)
B) formative with  specific feedback and an opportunity for improvement

My ebook, 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities, is available at http://bit.ly/90mlact.

My three formative assessment books, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students 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 27  Spanish activities and 4 Modern Language Visual activities in which students begin to express themselves in the modern language and to  move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Academic Online Poll/Survey Guidelines to Improve Student Learning

Many teachers have begun to use online polling or survey tools in their classroom.  The clicker movement has become transformed into a multitude of  e-polling  tools such as those described in Web 2.0 Survey and Polling Tools.

Some general guidelines for a learning poll in a classroom.

1) Decide on the purpose of the poll.  Is it a pre-assessment, in-progress assessment, or a final assessment?

2) Focus the poll on a single  specific learning concept.  Do not do a poll on all Spanish foods  but on  the subcategory of  breakfast foods.  Avoid sampling polls that cover many different learning concepts.

3) Ask critical essential  material.  Go for the truly important learning , instead of the trivial learning.  It is more important to know what type poetry a poet wrote rather than how many husbands she had.

4) Ask higher level questions  Which of the following  sentences uses an analogy?  or

5) Keep the wording  simple. Avoid negative questions.  Avoid long  questions or statements. Avoid long multi-line possible answers.  Although open-ended questions often allow the students more flexible in how they answer the question, these open-ended answers are hard to analyze for overall class performance.

6) Keep the poll to 10 or fewer questions.  Make it a quick poll to take.

7)  Decide whether to give the poll as homework or in-class.  If done in-class, is it a review of yesterday (or the past few days)?  Is a poll given after  in-class instruction and some practice?  Decide when it  fits in the lesson to give you the best picture of students’ learning?

8) Decide if the poll is anonymous or whether the students identify themselves.  If students identify themselves, then you can keep track of their progress.   If students identify themselves, make sure your poll program can store the data.  Some poll programs have polls that disappear after a certain amount of time. Does the program allow you to manipulate the data such as sorting or ranking?

9) Decide if you will share the class results with the class or whether you will be the only one to look at the data.  If you share the results with the class, does the poll program produce an overall graph with no names or identification of individual students?  For example, the poll may show a graph of how many A,  B, C, and D answers there were for an individual question and  highlight the correct answer.

10)  If you are using the poll for class improvement, do you  provide new strategies for students to overcome the learning gaps shown in the poll? If  you explain the “wrong” answer in the same way that you have previously explained it, then students who are presently confused will still be confused.  Do you have a new different strategy for students to learn the material?  How soon after giving the poll will you give the new strategy? (Research says the sooner, the more effective.)  Do you have students practice the new approach?

11) If at least 20% of the students do poorly (below 80%) on the  poll,  do y0u re-poll students within a few days to see if they have overcome their learning gaps? Can they show that they are proficient?

12) Decide if your next online poll will be this subcategory of the learning goal at a higher learning level, another subcategory of this learning goal, or a new learning goal.  Hopefully, students will see the polls as a logical progression of their learning.

How do you use polls in your class?

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:   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

Analysis of Learning with Mobile Learning

Use the following grid to analyze student learning based on  how you will be or are using mobile learning.

If you are planning for mobile learning, how can you modify your present plan to maximize learning with mobile learning?

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My formative assessment books: Formative Assessment Responding to Your Students,   Student Writing Through Formative Assessment Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment. http://bit.ly/Tutbks

My 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities are available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Using Technology to Prepare Student to Do Well on Finals

We want our students to do well on the class final, department final, school district final, state final or national final.  However, often it is not what our  students know but how they will be tested that determines their grade.

Here are some techniques to use technology to help prepare students for finals so that they can perform well.

1) Give them self-correcting online assessments that mimic  parts of the final.  For example, students can do  several reading comprehension passages  in a program like Quia.  The program instantly tells them whether they are right or wrong. You can build in hints/strategies so that the students can learn  how to get the answer correct such as “Answer the question word ‘Where’ with a place.”

2) Have a wiki where students can post comments on their strategies for doing well in  each section of the test. One student might write “(For the reading passage) I underline the question word in the question and then I underline the answer in the passage.”

3) Have a texting-based program for the class where anyone can text questions as they do  final practice activities. Other students can explain how to get the answer.  For example, one student texts  “Can’t figure out the answer to ‘When do they go to the movies?”‘ since no time is given. and another student responds, “After eating supper tells when something happens; after is a time word.”

4) Use a Power-Point like program that not only quizzes students but then sends them to appropriate online resources if they have incorrect answers.  For example, if students incorrectly identify a math problem, the PowerPoint shows them to a math video explaining that concept.

5) Identify the most common errors that students will make on the learning goals in the final and have the students, in groups, prepare a short one to two minute video explaining those concepts.  They can make these videos not as full explanations but as cheat-sheet videos in which they emphasize the most critical parts.  For example,  Spanish students may review how to ask questions in the preterite tense in the “you” form and how to answer them in the “yo” form and they may review the most common verbs such as “to go” to get ready for a speaking final. They can post these on the school server so that other can access the videos whenever they want.

6)  Use a QR code to send them to a Google Form short 5-10 item quiz based on a final test section.  As soon as the students finish the mini-quiz, show them the class (not individual) results and go over, in class, strategies to overcome  the common mistakes that students made.

Do you know now how your students will do on the final?  Use technology to assess them and help them improve.

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

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


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    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 […]
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  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    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 […]
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