Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Creating assessments & reassessments

 One of the most common questions that I get about standards based grading is how I do individualized assessments.  What I do is give each kid the same really long assessment and then they individualize it on their own by choosing which questions to answer and which ones to skip.  My next post will be about how my students and I track their progress, but basically the kids know which objectives they have and have not mastered so they answer only the quiz questions that they have not mastered yet.  This method saves me the overwhelming amount of work it would be to create 150 individualized quizzes every week on my own.

So here is what I do in more detail.  In an earlier post I wrote about how to create your objectives list.  I make a test bank in a separate document for every objective.  In each bank, I write 10-20 questions that measure the particular objective.  I make odd numbered items easier and even numbered items harder.  Each week when I write the quiz, I start a new blank document and then go to my gradebook to see which objectives to put on the quiz.  My rule for determining which questions to include on the quiz is as follows:  Any objective which has been taught and for which my students have not met the 80-M threshold will be on the quiz.  So let’s say I just finished teaching objective 53.  I would consider objectives 1-53 for my quiz.  Then I would look at my 80-M threshold.  This means I would look for which objectives 80% or more of my students have earned a grade of M or better.  These objectives would NOT be put on my quiz.  If you want to see what I mean by earning a grade of M means, check out this older post.

Now this next part is important for your own sanity.  The quiz questions are labeled with the number of their objective.  So maybe I give a quiz and the numbers are 3, 14, 16, and 17-25.  I would not number the twelve questions as 1-12.  The importance of the numbering is that it makes the tracking progress part so much easier.  Here is a sample quiz if this is hard to picture.  I don't have the students write directly on the quiz which is why it does not seem like there is enough room for them to show their work.  That is a whole other topic that I may post about once school starts up again.

Typically I give quizzes about once each week.  I post the objectives and date for the next quiz on the board immediately after grading the previous weeks quiz so that the kids have as much notice as possible.  At about the halfway point between quizzes, I do a formal remediation day.  I do other informal remediation during the week, but I always make sure to explicitly plan time just for remediation so that I can help move students towards mastery each week.

What happens to the 20% of kids who have not yet earned a grade of M or better by the time I remove the objective from my weekly quizzes?  What an excellent question.  I still allow students to remediate and reassess, just not during class.  At this point, they will need to come in before/after school.  I have them fill out a reassessment agreement.  I borrowed heavily form Excelsior Springs again.  You can read the form that I attached but basically the student meets with me after school, chooses up to 3 objectives at a time to remediate, chooses a time and method of remediation, and chooses a time for reassessment.  Once all of this is complete and the student has shown me their evidence of remediation, they schedule their reassessment.  I give 2 questions for each objective and I make them wait 24 hours between remediation and reassessment so that they are not just using short term memory to pass the new quiz.

If the student demonstrates higher level of mastery, their grade will increase. I don’t track lower grades or the time when a grade improves.  It would be nice to find a way to do this, it has just not been important enough for me to make it happen.

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