Sunday, October 15, 2017

Questions Coming From "Gradeless" Math

This post can also be found on our team's TLLP blog.

Going "gradeless" (using feedback-focused assessment) has brought about some great things with students, but often leads to more question than answers about my assessment practices. If you are reading this and have any ideas or suggestions I would love to hear from you!

Overarching Learning Goals & Learning Maps

I have started my year in grade 10 math with a set of learning goals and an incomplete learning map. I went into this process with an understanding that these documents will always be working documents. Changes will be needed depending on the group of students and changing needs of the course/society/etc. I am only 6 weeks into the semester and already envisioning the need for changes just based on pedagogy and assessment policy. Some of the reasons for this will be become more evidence in the topic below.

My learning map only has descriptors for level 3, which is partly by design.
1) I couldn't figure out how to describe the learning for 4 levels since I had not even tried using these goals for standards-based grading
2) I want student language to be used on the map so really need their voice to complete it
Hopefully I can get to a point soon where I have enough student evidence to show them that they can help me with that.

The Achievement Chart

I am grappling with the achievement chart in math - I am a fan of ensuring that we are assessing using all 4 categories (for those of you outside of Ontario those are Knowledge & Understanding, Application, Communication and Thinking) but I am struggling with the "descriptors" that Ontario uses to split them into 4 levels and even more grappling with what it means to have knowledge & understanding at a level 4 (exceeding expectations) when removed from thinking. I cannot get away from the idea that to show level 4 K&U you must also be showing T.

Manageable Feedback

This is the biggest question for me in out TLLP. How do I give students the feedback in math that they need and deserve in a manageable way? If I were to do all of what I think is beneficial I would literally not sleep. When everything is in place I will try to find ways to do it a bit more electronically so there is less hand writing to do, but the idea still baffles me in such a skill-based course (with the sheer volume of skills/understanding they need).

If anyone has any idea I would love to hear them. There is only so much that they can accomplish through self- and peer-feedback.

Managing Conferencing

I love doing interviews with kids about math. It is always an eye-opening look into what they actually understand (sometimes things they have not been able to articulate on paper and sometimes finding out just how much they are memorizing and not understanding). When I was teaching senior courses I usually found the time I needed to have these conferences, but I am having more trouble doing so with junior courses. It is a to harder to get them to be automonous for 3 days so that I can have the time needed.

Any ideas are welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heather - One piece you may find helpful when exploring the achievement chart is to make direct connections between the achievement chart categories and the math processes.

    Thinking - Reasoning & Proving, Reflecting, Problem Solving
    Application - Selecting Tools & Strategies, Connecting
    Communication - Communicating, Representing
    Knowledge - Overlayed over all pieces - but specifically assessed as parts of skill development and procedural fluency

    In particular, I found focusing on the different components of Thinking defined in the front matter of the math documents really helpful in providing feedback and assessments that better demonstrated their true conceptual understanding. #TACK #PuttingThinkingInItsPlace ;)