Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Goal #2 - Re-Evaluate Value

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count;everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.”
by Albert Einstein


Short-term- Change the way you assess one assignment or project and try to assess in a way that doesn’t add a numerical value but has the student seek value in the progress made, the learning achieved, or the work put into it. For the teachers on holiday, like in Argentina, just reflect on how you will change the assessment process of a project. Alternatively, think about a way to help students re-evaluate how they value themselves. Is it only through a number?

Long-term- In what ways can we help our students re-evaluate the way they value themselves? What changes to assessment can we make to have students reflect more on the learning journey instead of being programmed to place value only on the score?

Recently, I read this article about homework and student suggestions on how to make it meaningful.  Worth the read.  All assessment should be meaningful, whether homework, a test, etc.

How do we make assessment meaningful?
For me, I give hands-on projects almost exclusively for my classes.  I want students to explore the technology tools available to them and try using them in unique ways.  My 6th graders create their own websites through Weebly and are allowed to be very creative.  Right now I have paired up with the Language Arts teacher and the kids are presenting a research project on Egypt through their websites.  Even though they do class projects on their websites, they are allowed to create extra pages for their own personal use and expression.

I believe it is important to give students the opportunity to showcase their work for others to see (we share our websites).  In addition to my comments on their work, they can view the work of their peers.

At the end of each activity, my homework for them is to write a quick reflection and put it on their Reflections page on their website.  This gives them the opportunity to revisit and extend the learning.  It also gives them access to me and informally "assessing" how I did with the activity. 

Much of this is my way of giving students some measure of control over their own learning (I have a long way to go, but I'm trying!).  I even have 8th graders create quizzes through Forms in Google Docs for the entire Upper School - what an eye-opener for them this activity is!  They must create the quiz, make the form, collect the data (students sign in with numbers to protect their privacy), and grade them.  Being the teacher is more difficult than they originally thought it to be!  And I learn a lot along the way about their perceptions of teachers and quizzes too!

So I need to give them more control, structured control, over their own learning.  This includes the assessment piece and I definitely need to give students more opportunities to assess me.

Reflection is important for ALL learners!


  1. Hi Christina!

    What a great idea for students to assess their teachers. My students fill out a detailed survey giving feedback and it's anonymous unless they wish to give their name. They're pretty honest and it has helped me really look at my practice.

  2. I agree Shelly. It's easy to get comfortable in our style of teaching. Not only should we be sitting in the student seat more often (one of the items I took away from this week's #edchat), we should let them assess us. As teachers, we assess all the time... so we should be willing to get that perspective from our students and be ready to change. Teaching styles shouldn't be stagnant, it's always a work in progress!