Thursday, July 21, 2016

SE2R Comments in Grade 9 Science

I have been distracted from blogging but am trying to catch up and am back to trying to deprivatize my practice more. And so, I am resolved to blog about my assessment practices (including failures and questions) and hope that I can spark conversation, collect some feedback, and crowd source some ideas. So I have one request - if you are reading these entries, please share them with someone else and/or comment at the bottom and join the conversation. :) The first entry from this series can be found here.

Our wonderful Instructional Coordinator, Assessment, Kristen Clarke, organized some assessment-related book chats on Twitter in the latter half of the school year. I was able to participate in two of them and helped moderate a third. One of the books we discussed was Mark Barnes' Assesssment 3.0: Throw Out Your Grade Book and Inspire Learning. Mark is the pioneer of the Teachers Throwing Out Grades movement in education (check out #TTOG on Twitter).

[We also discussed Rethinking Letter Grades (which inspired mot of my Overarching Learning Goal and Learning Map blog entries) and Myron Dueck's Grading Smarter Not Harder (which inspired this entry related to reformatting tests and using learning goals).]

Barnes' book is largely about his feedback process that allowed him to go gradeless in his classroom. By giving students an appropriate avenue to find out what they had done and could improve on the traditional need for grades virtually disappeared. Reading his book has inspired me to make further efforts to reach for the same goal - a classroom of students who want to learn and grow (not students who want to do what they think I want and get marks). I want to build a community of students with a growth mind set that, therefore, believe in themselves as a learner and can reflect appropriately on their own work and the work of others.

Barnes' feedback method is referred to as SE2R. This means that every time he gives feedback he follows this pattern (and thus, teaches his students to do the same):

  • Summarize (what has the student done to meet the requirements of the specific assignment)
  • Explain (what mastery of skill/learning is shown)
  • Redirect (indicate what lessons should be reviewed to master concepts/skills not yet mastered)
  • Resubmit (encourage student to review and rework and give directions for resubmission)

I tried to put these ideas into practice a couple of times in the following weeks to test them out. Here is what I tried and how I did it:

  1. I put a paragraph writing question onto Edmodo as an assignment for students to answer that I told them would be on the unit test. Students were told what the learning goals were and were told that this was a chance to answer the question and get feedback before the test.
  2. I was able to practice writing comments that followed the SE2R model. Here is an example of what I wrote
    • :
  3. I created a "comment bank" using the SE2R model and based on the learning map I had created for the course. I sometimes had to modify comments to make them better fit an individual student work, but in the end I saved myself time AND was able to be more consistent and focus on the important areas only.

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