Fix 7: Don’t organize information in grading records by assessment method, or simply summarize into a single grade; organize and report evidence by standard / learning goal
Ok, for anybody out there reading this, I would love to see how you do this. I struggle with this. I have heard that I need to try FreshGrade but haven’t yet. Maybe in July I will do some recon…Currently, in Biology 11, I give the students our Learning Goals every Monday morning to start the week. However when I report evidence it is definitely a summarized grade and is not specifically organised by standards (just the title of the assignment). I do specify as to whether or not my marks are Formative or Summative, and I always reiterate the weight of major tests etc. Almost all of the time for Formative assessment I use a three point scale to indicate the level of comprehension. I find that our system just doesn’t allow for the kind of information I want to include (conversations, observations etc.) all in one place.
When I teach math, and teach out of the textbook, I have a system I enjoy that works for both myself and the students. The learning goals are plentiful, which can be intimidating for some, but we pick away at the goals; the students day to day activities as well as my reporting are lined up around clear descriptive standards. When I teach Biology, however, which is my forte, I the organization fails me to some extent. Maybe it’s because I have only taught the course twice, and the curriculum has been different each time…Or maybe it’s MyEd. Or maybe it’s because my “bell curve” is so broad that my standards are different for some students compared to the others.
I am, by nature, pretty organized and Type A. I can admit it. I have an MSc, but since going into Education, from applied science, my focus has evolved from numbers and algorithms into more personal documentation and note keeping. I have seen Kindergarten teachers’ mark books and I think we highschool teachers could learn a thing or two. A kindergartener is never going to get a score / 5 on raising their butterfly from a caterpillar. You will never see a list of assignments in chronological order of the worksheets they attempted to describe metamorphosis. Kindergarten records are a living document because a Kindergartener changes month to month- scratch that- day to day. No “grades” are permanent, it is just a snapshot in time of where they are at and how we can all support growth.
I want to spend my time teaching my students, and preparing ways to inspire them at their level. I went into this career knowing that record keeping is a big part of it, but I am skeptical there is software that can do this in a meaningful way that wouldn’t be a huge sink to my time that would be value added. Hmm… Kind of leaving this one hanging which I don’t like. Feel free to comment please. Until next time.