Student Involvement in Assessment

Today I am reading this: https://www.k12albemarle.org/acps/division/fql/Pages/Assessment-Analysis-Communication-and-Feedback.aspx

It states, “Student involvement in assessment is key to unlocking the potential of assessment as a learning tool.”

The information on the page was very useful to help me think about my assessment practices in school. I use rubrics frequently in home economics lessons to assess student work, such as projects and practicals. I craft the rubrics, never the students.

My thoughts are :

  1. I like the process outlined on the page about getting students to craft rubrics, but my challenge will be to find the in-class time to do this. I see my students every other week for a total of about twelve 1hr 20 min lessons over the year. Finding time will be tough!
  2. OMG, I really need to rethink some of my rubrics and probably reduce some of the learning targets!
  3. Why do I use a range of marks for bands? Why don’t I just use single marks for bands?
  4. For a practical session, there should be a rubric for each product so students can determine mastery. Also how can I give them models without wasting food?

I’ve summarised that page below for my own internalisation. I suggest reading the actual site yourself because it is more detailed.

Questions I am supposed to ask myself are:

  1. How do I assure that assessments will be useful measurements of learning?
  • Begin with learning aspects which are specific and written in accessible language
  • Limit the number of learning targets (usually 3 to 4) so that learners are not overwhelmed and have ample time to master essential content and skills

2. How do I encourage students to assess their work?

  • Use well written rubrics
    • Focuses only on a few learning targets
    • Contains student friendly language
    • Provides descriptive detail that defines various levels of success
    • Descriptions of quality are more useful than quantity

A process for teaching students how to self-assess / evaluate work using a rubric.

  1. Start by getting students to assess model or anchor papers. (Even if you just do this, it will be good learning for the students)
  2. Look at extreme samples (one which is very good and one which is really bad), get students to identify strengths and weaknesses and craft the rubric from student suggestions. (Ask them, what does success look like?)
  3. Practice the strategies to improve the work together
  4. Analyse mid-range pieces of work
  5. Focus on one learning target at a time so students can isolate the intended learning
  6. Get students to work in pairs to score and improve anonymous student work
  7. Students then score and improve their own work

3. How do I develop relationships with students that promote student involved assessment?

Be:

  • present
  • open
  • listening without judgment
  • Seek common understandings
  • View learning as mutual

I should seek to inspire students through my own passion for ongoing growth and show learners why they should be committed to their own development.

Continually ask myself, “What grading practices motivate students to continually strive for mastery and excellence?”

4. How do I set up situations so that students are more involved in determining the course of their learning?

  • Systematically engage them in shared goal setting.
  • In order to set goals and monitor their own progress, they must clearly understand what learning is essential.
  • Students who are involved in setting goals and have a clear understanding of their mission, they have a sense of ownership, self-awareness, and control of their own development over time. The inclusive process makes students intrinsically motivated.
  • Questions to ask students
    • “What are your strengths and weakness in the discipline at hand?”
    • “What do you see as the greatest challenge for you as you move towards mastery in this area?”
    • “How will this goal inform your next steps as a learner?” 

5. What are some ways that students can use their communication skills to empower themselves in their learning?

  • Portfolios
  • Student-planned and lead conferences with teachers and parents. Students should select the work they wish to discuss, identify strengths and weaknesses and share their learning goals

Framework provided on that website and attributed to Stiggins, 2004:

  • Learning target/s
  • Evidence of where I started
  • Evidence of where I am now
  • What I did to improve
  • What I can do now that I couldn’t do before
  • What to notice about my work
  • Date of conference
  • Start and end time of conference
  • Participant(s)
  • Comments of participant(s)

Using ePortfolios or blogs for Home Economics lessons

An ePortfolio, is a website that enables students to collate digital evidence of their learning. Sort of like how I am using this blog as digital evidence of my learning. 

How an ePortfolio or blog can enhance learning

  • It increases peer and collaborative learning between students and teachers when ePortfolios are made visible to other students. For example, students can view each other’s finished products after a cooking class and learn where their peers have done well or not so well.
  • Students have a place to document their achievement and because it can be made visible to peers and the public, it would make the work more meaningful for them (and possibly make them take their work more seriously.) 
  • Would allow students and teacher to look back at the students previous work, any assumptions they might have had on a topic, discussions and work processes
  • ePortfolios accommodate a range of learning styles because it can contain a wide range of files, such as text documents, pictures, videos, links to websites and other online resources. This would be a great way for students to store pictures of the dishes they have cooked or mind maps they have done. Students could even use the portfolio to store pictures/pdfs of their worksheets. 
  • Students will be able to receive more feedback and in a more timely manner because it will be easier for teachers to monitor students’ progress.
  • Increased feedback from teachers will encourage students to reflect more deeply on their own learning
  • Process work can be recorded (instead of just finished products), which would make it easier for students to be reflective of their learning. For example, students could add video clips of their cooking techniques.
  • If students can leave comments on each other’s work which helps students to develop digital literacy skills that enables them to become fully participatory citizens in society

Other advantages of using an ePortfolio or blog

  • Teachers can more easily form supportive relationships with students over the course of their study through interacting with the student’s portfolio
  • Reduces the need to pass bulky portfolios back and forth between teacher and student
  • ePortfolios can help students stay organised 
  • Students become more confident in co-producing class knowledge and content
  • Students can get help on their work outside of class hours from each other and the teacher
  • Students can express their opinions online. This might be good for students who are more shy.

Challenges 

  • Time needed to teach students how to use the e-portfolio unless they have learnt during another subject (FCE has very limited face time with the students so this can be challenging)
  • Time needed at the beginning to set up the structure of the ePortfolio for the students.
  • Some students may be apprehensive about using the technology and may need considerable support
  • Students may not have access to the technology to make it easy for them to build the ePortfolio
  • Possible increase in workload if the teacher doesn’t determine at the beginning the how and when the ePortfolio should be graded

Possible ways to overcome challenges

  • Set aside time after school to teach students the technology
  • Create explainer videos for the students so they can teach themselves
  • Have a clear plan right in the beginning on how the ePortfolio should be used (e.g. a repository of finished work? Process work?) and what, how and when comments should be given to students and grading should be done.

Possible platforms that can be used for an ePortfolio or blog

Free platforms

  • Google Sites 
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Blogging platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, TypePad
  • Padlet

Paid platforms

  • PebblePad seems like a great platform because there are built in ways to grade the portfolio / blog, but you cannot trial the product as an individual and plans start from £25/year (SGD$43.25; AUD$46.75). 

Some articles on ePortfolios

4 ways ePortfolios are going beyond college resume building