Saturday, July 22, 2017

Examples of my 5 - 10 SBG rubric in practice.

  •           Definitely check my prior post on my reasoning about how I grade. These are just some examples. 
  •     The important thing is being consistent with yourself with students' tests and across retesting. We might disagree within .5 (that’s the smallest increment I give) but overall students will end up grade-wise being about where they should be A = full grasp of all/almost all content in the course B= strong grasp of content with some gaps/misunderstandings etc.        
  •     I score honors harder and include more standards than a regular level class. These examples are all from a standard Math 1.
  •  Sorry I don’t have an example for every level for every standard. These are some standards from tests I pulled in maybe 15 minutes of looking through some sample work. These aren't complete tests, usually those are approx. one page front and back.

Grading Examples: 

 I hope those examples make a little more sense! These aren't necessarily the best ones, but I only had a few minutes to choose some and these were the ones I could easily put my hands on. As always, be in touch if you have any thoughts or questions!

Friday, July 21, 2017

How I do Standards Based Grading (SBG) in a Traditional Setting

(And I pretty much should have written this after copresenting a session on SBG at #TMC15...sorry guys #betterlatethannever)

Some background real quick: I don't teach in a school/district that is full-blown SBG so I use what I call "SBG lite" that lets me operate in the traditional system but hold many of the ideals of SBG.

I teach high school, 90 minute block classes. Math 1 I see every day, others I see every other (A/B day), but have taught those on straight block as well. I usually test every 5 periods (when they see me on a Friday basically). Tests don't usually take all or even half of a period.

I will follow up once these stupid pictures load with another post including pictures of how I scored certain sections of some math 1 standards so you can get an idea of how the 5-10 works in practice with examples.

Here it goes...

I score on a 5-10 for ease of translating to a “traditional” grade (easier to communicate than the traditional 1-4 rubric for students, parents, and admin)

I like this ninja poster (just search ninja SBG to see lots of versions online) to roughly explain how I think (blue) when looking at the work and how a student feels (black text) when doing the work at each level. 

In general here is I define the levels:
10 – perfect, no errors including notation if applicable
9. 5 – Very minor arithmetic mistake
9 – Arithmetic mistakes or mistake that doesn’t generally show a *conceptual* misunderstanding
8 – conceptual misunderstanding (has gist of it but is still missing a puzzle piece)
Easier to come from the bottom now:
5 – nothing or just…wrong. If everything is blank (or not a real effort) I will give a 0.
6 – Can get started or understands one piece of the problem but gets very stuck
7 – A step above 6. Usually a combo of conceptual misunderstandings and arithmetic mistakes

How do you do retesting?
-         For Math 1 – 3, I embed retesting in the next assessment and it is mandatory for all students. I do this for many reasons, not the least of which is I want all students (even those with an initial 10) to show they’ve retained the material. Search for research on “retrieval practice” and the “testing effect” to see why this is crucial for transfer to long-term memory for all students.
  •  Doesn’t this make the test long? No, it is similar in length to when I did a traditional test (about 1 page front and back, sometimes longer). But I’m much better about writing questions now. Don’t ask 3 of the same question if one will suffice. It’s not about *points* (ie more questions = less points per question) but about the type of mistakes.
  •  Example of setup. Say it’s our second test. The first part will be retesting on the first test (A) (similar questions) plus the new material (B). The next week B will be the review material and whatever was taught the next week (C) will be new material. If there are certain standards they are still struggling with, those individual topics might get looped to another week after the initial retest.
  •       Students see topics again in a quarter test that is cumulative. For YL courses the next         quarters will have sections for review on prior units. For instance, my 8 standards for unit 1 (Math 2) might collapse down to 1A Operations on Polynomials and 1B Factoring. By end of the year it will just be unit 1 and will be the most challenging questions only.
  • Jury is still out on exactly how I will implement retesting in Precalc this year as the material is just so much longer. I'm thinking retesting IS on them to request out of class and will require HW to be complete and a remedial practice set on the standard in DeltaMath to be completed. They will still have the cumulative aspect of the units carrying through the course to hold them accountable in the future. 

How many standards do you have?
  •          I have between 5-8 standards per unit depending on the length of the unit
  •          If you feel like something is a “power standard” then you can adjust the weight in your gradebook (like in my honors Math 2 I make trig word problems weighted 2 times because I feel that application is crucial)

How many questions per standard?
  • It depends on how long the problems take, I'd say the median is probably 4-5. Just enough to test the different levels of a topic. For instance with difference of squares I'm going to have 4: one normal, one that is "backwards" (constant first), one with two variables, and one with both terms being something besides one (like 9x^-25). In math 2 one of those will also have fractions. It can be as low as 2 or 3 (normal for quadratic formula for me) or higher if we are IDing transformations
  • Choose the lowest possible number of questions you need to accurately see their level of understanding. This has made me think more critically about the questions I ask. No reason to ask something of the same level 3 times if 1 will suffice. Make sure there is a more "basic" question to see if they have some grasp of the concept. 

What is response from stakeholders?
  •           After one explanation of my grading to a parent, I have not had a *single* issue about my grading in the 4 years I have used it. In fact, I get consistent feedback from students, parents, and guidance counselors that they appreciate this method because:
o   It lowers test anxiety and helps students see a test as just a data point about where they are in the journey of their learning (not the end)
o   Students retain information better because of being held accountable for it over time
o   Everyone is on the same page instead of not knowing what a 73 on a test means. Now everyone knows the student needs to work on 2.3, 2.5, and 3.1

If you are only entering grades for tests, how do you get students to do anything?
  •           Grading is not the only way to hold students accountable. You can still be recording classwork/homework in some way to have discussions with students, parents, and guidance and even put this in your gradebook without that having to calculate in the actual grade.
  •           Consider: are you grading compliance or content? I’d argue I want my grade to accurately represent what they know about the course. That doesn’t mean there isn’t communication etc about work ethic and such things or consequences for not doing certain things, but those are taken out of the grading equation.
  •          Once you take out any grading of formatives, the nature of your class will switch because students don’t ask “will this be graded?” because they know it won’t and instead will do the work you are asking them to do because it is how they are going to learn it to do well on what is graded (assessments).
  •           Incorporate activities and structures in your class that make not participating a kind of non-option (speed dating, #vnps (whiteboards), other games where everyone has to do work)

Aren’t we not preparing students for the real world?
  •          First, I’d argue that a lot of things in the real world require constant revision in the search for doing things better (think about teaching!).
  •           Second, my main goal is to have students learn as much of my content as possible. What will prepare them for the future in math class isn’t some arbitrary responsibility taught through 0s (how many students have changed habits from receiving a 0 from you?) but instead knowing the foundational math concepts in my class.
  •          If (for instance) these gaps of understanding in my Math 1 class aren’t filled, they aren’t going to be closed in Math 2 and these students will fall farther behind. It is my goal to have students learn and master as much of my material as possible so that they can be successful later in their math career. Close the knowledge gaps now.

What do you do with the different scores on a standard?
  •          Over the past 8 semesters of doing this, I’ve done pretty much everything. Average, average two most recent, just most recent. I’ve been doing most recent since what I care about is where we are ending up. In the RARE case they go down on a quarter test significantly, I look at what their consistent score.
  •          I did like one semester where they got a 9.5 the first time it was perfect, and the next time it was perfect it changed to a 10. But at the end of quarter this took SO long to deal with after the quarter test it wasn’t worth it, in my opinion.

Random Advice:
  •           Embed reteaching on these standards in class and/or homework (cue Math Maintenance!!!) so that students have an opportunity to receive corrective feedback and improve through practice before the next test.
  • Have a way for students to record their progress so they can see it is working!

Whew! That was long. This is what works for me and one of the keys, as in anything with teaching, is finding the right combination for you. I've found this method keeps everyone on the same page and is pretty easy for students and parents to quickly grasp. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Daily Structure

If you know me at all, you know I love structure. Actually, that is one of the reasons I love mathematics so much is all the structures you can find. So it probably isn't surprising that I like to think about how I structure different things in my classroom from the big picture. I'm finding this especially important since I teach a 90 minute block and last year switched to an A-day/B-day block for some of my classes.

First, I'm not saying this is what we will do every day, some days will be more heavily weighted for one section and sometimes say with early release I might scrap a section but overall I've tried to come up with a plan that serves several purposes:

1) Give better more timely feedback
2) Do a spaced review on topics we've done the week before and about a month before
3) Take up less paper 
4) Stagger the lesson and its practice to be on separate days to allow for the brain to forget and consolidate information when we return to it the next day.

Of course I came up with a color diagram that shows it better than I can explain it. 

Same color = same topic. 

Ideally I'd like to start playing with this with the actual topics before school starts, but I might be being optimistic. 

Quiz - I'm going to do peer "grading" by that I just mean trade and mark correct/incorrect, it's not going to go in the gradebook but I will glance at them to ensure accuracy but I want students to be getting immediate feedback here. I'm going to be making a big deal about the shift towards learning and the importance of "testing" oneself (retrieval) for learning versus a focus on the grade. 
Practice from the Day before -  Usually this will be some sort of activity (showdown, speed dating, #vnps which I'm hoping to get them moving during because...90 minutes) This also gives me a chance to reteach students who were absent!
Investigation/New lesson - Putting this right after practice I think will really help show the connections between what they learned previously - since they just practiced it! I don't do investigations every lesson, but it can be something as simple as a notice/wonder, WODB, or connecting representations prompt. Followed by any notes/direct instruction for the topic.  
Math Maintenance/Ticket Out - Since I'm getting laptops I'm going to try something new. I'm going to try to use Edulastic to give formative assessments on that. Occasionally I'll mix it up and do something "fun" but that will be our go to. I'm also going to try to focus on *one* topic for each math maintenance versus the mix it usually was. This will make it easier for me to a) reteach b) use assessments already in Edulastic (also it has really cool tech enhanced options) and c) gradually scale up the difficulty of questions when they see it again (about a month later) in math maintenance. I'll also include a couple questions from the current day's new lessons as my formative assessment from the day. I want to focus on an item that shows me any misconceptions they have an one summarizing/synthesis question. Combined these mostly for ease of giving feedback. Edulastic is like Google forms on steroids and I particularly like a) it automatically grades b) I can see just students who missed a particular question and then give them specific feedback c) I can give feedback to a student as a whole. It also integrates with Google Classroom as I can a) import rosters and b)they can just click a link and not have to sign in to something separately/remember even more usernames/passwords.  

Homework - I am going to give out homework but not focus on collecting/grading it. Those will be my normal lagging (spaced and interleaved) homework ala Henry Picciotto that is approximately 2 from that day, 4 review, 2 much earlier type questions. I'm going to post the solutions in Google Classroom so they can check their work and bring in any questions. I'm planning on dedicating the last chunk of pages in their NB to that so then if they aren't doing well on tests I can say "show me your homework section"...oh it's blank? There might be our problem.