The system all starts with the skills list. This isn't news to you because if you're reading this blog, you're most likely reading dy/dan as well. Our district made the move towards standards based instruction a few years ago with some of our campuses throwing out the textbook pacing and teaching a standard at a time. We have decided to go one further and break up the thicker standards into smaller more manageable skills. Each student gets a skill list where they keep track of their progress. They also have a "playlist" where they set goals for the week.
Online Examples/Study Guides
I spent the better part of the last two years populating our school website with examples. They have been organized by text section, state standard and soon, I will have them done by skill. Many of these were recorded during class and are the result of student generated questions. I hope to upgrade these examples so they are a little cleaner. The study guides are simply .html exports of the ExamView tests I have created. In hindsight, I think I'll go back and make all the study guides short answer as opposed to multiple choice. I have found that too many student won't show work otherwise.
Ideally, I would like the skills to be just that, skills. I want my students to access these study guides and examples on their time which would free up class time for projects and problem solving. Based on conversations I've had with my 7th graders, they are realizing the power of being able to access these resources at their convenience which gives me confidence that a classroom inversion is more likely next year. It's tough to have them unlearn certain behaviors, but because my classes are really a two year program, I see much growth the second year.
Pre-test, Common Formative Assessment, Test #1...
Call it what you want, it's basically the first test I give my students which sets the bar for them in the grade book. This semester, these tests have been administered solely through the ExamView Test Manager. Students access the tests through the EV Player and go to work. Once a student finishes the test, they get immediate feedback on each question. They know what they answered correctly and what they missed before they leave class. Skill lists are updated on the spot. Students have been taking screenshots of their feedback sheets and save them to their folder on the server. These screenshots double as proof of their completion of the assessment as well as a set of practice problems they can do as they prepare for re-assessment.
I set up all of the tests so that students can access them only once. This prevents them from simply memorizing the answers from a test and then doing it again. That's why dynamic questions are a must. I have a set of post tests ready to go--it takes just a click of the button to calculate new values for the test. On most tests, I will make some of the questions short answer so students have to do some explaining. There is not an equation editor available for students while they take the test so I have to be careful which question types I use for free response.
In order for a student to take a re-assessment they have to do a couple of things.
- Demonstrate they recognize the mistakes they've made and show me they know how to fix them.
- Sign up. (h/t to Kate for the form idea)
Work in Progress
I just learned that I can also attach a link to a video or audio file in the test player. This will allow me to use these media as prompts for future test questions. I'm not exactly sure how I'll use it but I can see myself doing a screencast of myself doing a problem incorrectly and having students pick out the mistake. I can also see showing a clip of a projectile and asking students to find it's highest point.
My plan for next year is to develop a set of projects for students to do that incorporate a group of skills. Students will only be able to work on the project once they have demonstrated proficiency in that given skill set. My farming project may act as a true semester project this way. But instead of waiting until the end of the semester to give it, I will give it to them at the beginning of the year and say they have until the end of the semester to finish it.
Anyone up for developing some projects?