Monday, July 31, 2017

SBG Updates- Assessment Question Design

Overall the way I'm using standards based grading hasn't changed all that much but I have made some changes to things that I'm pretty pleased with. The main things that have changed are the way I design assessment questions and last summer I changed the ways that I organize the skill quizzes. Both have helped me quite a bit. Right now I'll explain the question design, more on the organization later.

Like much else, this idea wasn't my own. For all I know this could be how everyone else is already writing quizzes and I was just out of the loop. A coworker and I attended an NCTM workshop a couple years ago and went to a session on SBG. It was a great one because it was a district that uses it district wide and were explaining their system. A decent amount was similar to what we were already doing but they had a really great system for how they design assessments. (I wish I could credit who this came from but it was nearly 3 years ago at this point and I just have no idea)

Before, I don't think there was any rhyme or reason to what questions I included. I tried to cover a variety of different aspects of the skill and would then grade based on what I saw.

The suggestion was to create each skill with questions of increasing difficulty to make it easier to determine what the student does/does not understand. Each skill contains five questions ranging from the absolute basics needed for the skill to a challenge question that requires the student to apply the skill to something not explicitly covered in class. And what I found most helpful was that they said they begin by writing the middle question. So for each skill they think about what does basic proficiency looks likes and make that the middle question. Then from there it's easier to scale the skill up and down. I don't always stick to exactly five questions, but the idea did help me to write quizzes easier.

This one is a good example of what it looks like on one of my assessments:


First questions is on there to see if the student understands the idea of distance. If this question is not correct, then I know right away what the problem is and where to start. The third question is the basics of what I want them to be able to do. The fourth puts words in to see if they get scared. If they can do the 3rd but not the 4th I know the words threw them.

I wish I could say that all followed this structure as well, but they just don't. I already had most of the assessments done when I heard this idea so I've been updating things since then. Like the ones below, some have fewer questions but follow the same idea.

The challenge question here presents more of an idea and less of a problem/answer type question.

This one also uses error analysis as the challenge question, I've noticed that
sometimes that type of thinking is hard for my kids so I like to work on it.
Template Download (fonts are Aldine401 BT, Bebas Neue, Abel, Segoe UI Light)
This is just from Microsoft Word using a table. Included are 6 boxes, that is the general starting point but from there I'll merge boxes, hide borders, and/or play with the box heights to create the different layouts like I've got above

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Still here

Hey, it's been awhile. Checking in here because a couple people said they missed me and I appreciated that very much. I do have a few new things that I've wanted to share, but before that here's a quick recap of what's been up lately:

What's new:
  • My time management (aka probably the reason I don't blog anymore)
    A few years ago I was spending all my time doing work and it wasn't working out well for me. I'd bring work home at night, I'd work on things during the weekend, I'd spend all summer making posters, buying things for my classroom, blogging about work, etc. It just got to be too much for me so I don't do it anymore. I'd write more about this but I fear that it might come off too negative sounding.

  • This guy

    His name is Snoopy and I adopted him about two years ago. This is him last summer hanging out with me while I set up my classroom. He's super cool and helps greatly to occupy my time outside of school so that I can't spend all my time doing work. So he's not school related, but that picture is so that counts.

  • The amount of time I spend advising/coaching
    So while I said up there that I haven't been spending time outside of school working I should probably amend that to working on math teaching things. I haven't really talked all that much at all about the group that I advise/coach (SkillsUSA) but in the past few years the amount of time I spend on it has increased exponentially. Much of this time is spent working with students fundraising and preparing them for state championships though so it's much different than sitting home doing teacher work. It takes up a ton of time and drives me absolutely nuts at certain times during the year but is incredibly rewarding.

  • Grad school (aka another reason I haven't been here)
    During 2016 I started work on my masters in school administration (principal and supervisor certifications). Over the past five years I've been doing increasingly more work on developing curriculum and have found that I really enjoy planning things like that and doing work on that scale. Ultimately I'd like to move on to be a mathematics supervisor.

  • Some things with how I use standards based grading and interactive notebooks
    I'm planning to share some of what I think are the more interesting things that I'm doing.


What's not:

  • Where I teach
    Still at the same vocational school and it's still a great place to work!

  • My classroom
    Prior to this room, my classroom got moved on me every two years. This year will be the fourth that I've spent in this room so that's cool. At the end of last school year someone that I work with forced me to declutter and get rid of a bunch stuff which made setting up and cleaning up my room last year a breeze. Again on the topic of time management, previously I used to spend a bunch of time in August setting things up but now I've gotten it down to about one and a half days. And this year I (along with the help of a few awesome kids) packed the whole thing up in one day too.

  • What I'm teaching
    This may also be a reason I haven't been around here. Lately there isn't a whole bunch of new stuff that I'm doing. Right now this is the longest that I've been at a school and I'm fairly consistently teaching the same courses. I have a bank of things that I really like using and while I do add in new stuff here or there it's nothing major.  Most of the newer stuff that I do use is things I get from other people's blogs.

Also noteworthy: I am working on fixing links to stuff. Unfortunately the site that I used to share files a couple years ago has stopped working and the process of fixing everything is just too overwhelming. I fixed some of the most requested files so if there is something you were looking for (and it's not too late) please go give it another try. If there is something else that you see and would like please leave me a comment on the post and I'll try my best.